Minister incites Turks to boycott French goods

Minister incites Turks to boycott French goods

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Minister incites Turks to boycott French goods

Activists from the People’s Voice Party (HSP) and Hak-İş, a trade union known to be close to the government, lays black wreaths outside the French Embassy in Ankara. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkey’s EU minister said Turkish people would react to France’s Armenian “genocide” denial bill without any push from the Turkish government.

“We saw in the past for the case of Italy, those who emptied wine onto [the streets] and burned coats and cravats were this country’s people. There is no need for suggestion, this nation’s people decide on their own,” EU Minister Egemen Bağış told reporters yesterday.

Bağış said Turks would react by not consuming French goods in response to the controversial bill.
Meanwhile, Turkish Science, Industry and Technology Minister Nihat Ergün said Turkey would probably not assume an embargo policy against France nor violate international agreements. However, France should take into consideration the uneasiness that would emerge in Turkish society, Ergün said.

Bülent Eczacıbaşı, president of the board of directors of Eczacıbaşı Holding, said any boycott against the French firms in Turkey would harm the Turkish economy. “It would not be wise to punish those companies working in Turkey; by doing that we will hurt ourselves. We should be calm and our steps should be outcome-oriented. We should avoid taking steps with anger that could be detrimental to ourselves,” he said.

Eczacıbaşı, who is also the chairman of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), said he is against a sanction being imposed in the domain of art and culture. “Art and culture establish bridges between people. If there are problems between people we need to make more use of these cultural bridges,” he said.

In a last warning to France over the Armenian “genocide” denial bill, Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek said bilateral ties were under threat of “irreparable damage” and urged French lawmakers to use “common sense.” The planned bill has united Turkey’s ruling and opposition parties in Parliament, which in a joint declaration denounced it as a “grave, unacceptable and historic mistake.”

“We strongly condemn the proposal which denigrates Turkish history,” the parties said, urging France to consider its own past, including its involvement in bloodshed in Algeria and Rwanda. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli urged the government to stand firm against France, stressing that the crisis provided ground to abandon reconciliation efforts with Armenia.

“A great honor struggle awaits the [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP. This is a precious opportunity for them to end their lethargy and step back from the concessions given as part of the opening to Armenia,” said Bahçeli.

Speaking outside the French Embassy, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Tanju Özcan he would personally travel to France if the bill was passed and declare that the “Armenian genocide claims are the biggest lie of the century.” CHP deputies Ali Özgündüz and Atilla Kart resigned in protest from the Turkey-France Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Activists from the People’s Voice Party (HSP) and members of Hak-İş, a trade union known to be politically close to the government, laid black wreaths outside the French Embassy in peaceful demonstrations.