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Friday, 19 January, 2001, 21:40 GMT
Turkish protests target the French
French consulate in Istanbul
Police gather to protect the French consulate in Istanbul
A French consulate in Turkey has been attacked by egg-throwing protesters as the two countries' relations worsened over alleged brutality during the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey is furious that the French National Assembly has passed a law labelling the killing of Armenians in 1915 as genocide.

We will call on our members to re-evaluate their ties with France

Turkish trade group
Business leaders and many civic groups have urged a boycott of French goods.

Turkey has already withdrawn its ambassador from Paris in protest at the bill, and on Friday Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer appealed to France's President Chirac to have the legislation overturned.

But the French Foreign Ministry insisted the bill did not amount to criticism of Turkey today.

"The latter should not be hold responsible for a painful past and there is no change in the objectives and the content of France's policy towards Turkey," said a spokesman.

Friendship 'destroyed'

Calls for a boycott of French goods grew, as observers warned that French contracts could also be hit.

Armenians looking at the body of a boy in Konya during deportations of Armenians during World War I
Armenians say millions were killed
"We will call on our members to re-evaluate their ties with France, particularly imports, and will advise them to look for other partners," said the head of the Union of Turkish Chambers and Commodities, Fuat Miras.

The protesters who threw eggs at the French consulate in Istanbul are believed to have been members of a far-right group.

More than 100 other demonstrators, from left- and right-wing groups, gathered outside the French embassy in Ankara, and laid black wreaths at the gates.

This law is certainly going to have very bad repercussions on long-standing Turkish-French relations

Turkish presidential spokesman
"This law is certainly going to have very bad repercussions on long-standing Turkish-French relations," said Turkish presidential spokesman Tacan Ildem.

Turkey's main newspaper, Hurriyet, was among those to strongly attack the French decision.

"The French parliament destroyed a historical friendship, dating back to the time of Suleyman the Magnificent, for the sake of a few Armenian votes," said an editorial.

Many critics say France was itself guilty of human rights abuses during Algeria's war of independence and has no right to criticise other nations.

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23 Sep 00 | Media reports
Turkey angry at US Armenian genocide move
04 Oct 00 | Europe
Turkey scraps US visit
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