Turkey accuses France of Algerian genocide


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he speaks during a conference in Istanbul on Aug. 17, 2011.


Mustafa Ozer

The diplomatic row between Turkey and France has intensified with Turkey accusing France of committing "genocide" in Algeria in the 1940s and 1950s. Turkey's move comes a day after the French Parliament voted to make it illegal to deny that the mass killing of Armenians in Turkey during World War I was a genocide.

According to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's father may have direct knowledge about the French "massacres" in Algeria, Reuters reported.

"In Algeria from 1945, an estimated 15 percent of the population was massacred by the French. This is genocide," Erdogan said, speaking on live television.

The Daily Mail reported that Erdogan accused the French of "burning them in ovens." He accused France of "racism and xenophobia," and canceled permission for French military planes to land and dock in Turkey.

According to The New York Times, Erdogan's remarks could worsen the dispute between the two countries. France and Turkey have a long history that have "left successive generations to wrestle with the repercussions of actions in the past."

France is a powerful member of the European Union, which Turkey has long attempted to join.

More from GlobalPost: French lawmakes pass Armenian genocide law

"We halt all kinds of political dialogue with France, cancel bilateral military functions and joint exercises as of now,” Erdogan said after the parliamentary vote, The Times reported.

According to The Times, more than 15 countries have officially recognized the slaughter of about 1.5 million Armenians in the chaos surrounding World War I as genocide. Denial of such is already a crime in Switzerland and Slovenia.