Azerbaijan, Baku, June 22 / Trend /
Ellada Khankishiyeva, Trend Analytical Centre Head
The warm meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and new French president Francois Hollande today in Brazil became a good end to the absurd story between the two powers with the recognition of the so-called "Armenian genocide".
The Lower House of the French Parliament adopted a bill criminalising the denial of the so-called "Armenian genocide" on Dec 22, 2011. Senate (upper house of the French Parliament) voted for the adoption of this law on January 23, 2012. Some 127 senators voted for, while 86 - against. The bill demands a year's imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euro for denying the so-called "Armenian genocide".
Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that the predecessor of the Turkey - Ottoman Empire had committed the 1915 genocide against the Armenians living in Anatolia, and achieved recognition of the "Armenian Genocide" by the parliaments of several countries.
This awkward situation can be considered absurd for the reason that flared up passions due to the recognition by the French Senate of the bill criminalising denial of so-called "Armenian genocide" in the end was successfully resolved in favor of Turkey - France's Constitutional Court declared the law unconstitutional and violating freedom of speech. However, relations between Turkey and France were damaged to the extent that Ankara has introduced a range of sanctions against Paris, accompanied by breaking off both economic and political relations.
It should be recalled that sanctions included a recall of the Turkish ambassador from France, freezing all bilateral economic, political and military talks, the ban on the use by French military aircraft and ships of air bases and ports in Turkey without a special permit, cancellation of a joint Turkish-French meeting on economic issues, abolition of all military exercises with France.
To mark the start of a new stage of relations between the two countries, Turkey is preparing to lift a number of sanctions imposed on France. And if the political relations between countries can be restored easily and relatively quickly, it is not easy to revive economic ties: joint investment projects stand idle, trade links get broken, the provision of counter economic services stops. For this reason, Turkey had been taking a wait and see stance on the issue of economic sanctions against France and had not been in a hurry with making them tighter, limiting economic cooperation at the level of negotiations.
There is a pleasant fact that the period of Turkish sanctions against France was short and completed without developing fully. The Turkish export statistics indicate that if France was fifth in the top 10 trading partners before the sanctions were imposed, it dropped only by
one step in the period from January to May 2012, becoming the sixth honorary partner where Turkey mainly delivers its textile products and appliances.
The entrepreneurs of both countries believed that the populist decision of French politicians will be rejected, because the deterioration of Turkish-French relations will not benefit any party.
Turkey has a large number of French companies in the areas of banking, power enginnering, motor-car construction, retail trade, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. French companies EDF, GDF Suez and Areva plan to participate in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Turkey.
The volume of investments of 350 Turkish companies operating in various sectors of the French economy is $500 million.
The economic potential between the two countries has not been exhausted. The resumption of relations between the two countries will give an impetus to the further development of Turkish-French economic cooperation.
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