ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey is weighing inviting the French foreign minister to the next meeting of the Friends of Syria group in Istanbul as Sarkozy ordered his government to draft a new ‘genocide’ bill. Still, Ankara does not rule out the participation of Juppe, since it is not a bilateral meeting, but rather a multi-party gathering
FM Davutoglu and his French counterpartJuppe seen in this file photo. AA Photo
As Turkey prepares to host the second gathering of the “Friends of Syria” group to discuss the Syrian crisis in Istanbul in March, Ankara
is still deciding whether to invite French
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. Political ties between the two countries have been strained over a “genocide” bill.
“We haven’t sent any invitation to any country yet. We will still consider inviting Juppe,” a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News
yesterday. Turkey had not ruled out the participation of France, since it would not be a bilateral meeting, but rather a multi-party gathering, the diplomat said, implying a higher likelihood he would be invited.
Turkey will host the second “Friends of Syria” conference in late March, following the group’s first meeting in Tunis on Feb. 24.
If Turkey decides to invite France to the gathering, the invitation would be for Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, not French
President Nicholas Sarkozy, as the conference would be at the ministerial level, the diplomat said.
Juppe is known to be against the law the French
parliament passed in December 2011 which made denying the Ottoman empire committed genocide against its Armenian population in the World War I era a criminal offense.
Constitutional Council canceled the legislation, calling it “unconstitutional,” but President Sarkozy
ordered his government to draft a new bill, which can only be done in the next term of French
Parliament after the elections in June.
The Friends of Syria group’s third meeting was planned to convene in France later, probably with the participation of heads of state, if the group decided to do so at the Istanbul meeting, the diplomat said.
The diplomat said Turkey had not decided whether to participate in the gathering if invited by the French
government because of Sarkozy’s attitude of insisting on the law despite the French
Constitutional Council’s rejection of the legislation.
While the Constitutional Council was obvious, it was not certain what would happen in the end about the denial law, the diplomat said.