PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday declared April 24 as the date France will commemorate the Armenian genocide, an issue that has caused regular friction between Turkey and European Union member states.
Macron, in keeping with a 2017 campaign promise, told an annual dinner of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France that France was among the first nations to denounce “the murderous hunt of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire.”
France officially recognised the Armenian Genocide in 2001.
Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.
Macron said he informed Turkish President Tayip Erdogan about the decision beforehand, adding that he wanted to keep an open dialogue with Turkey.
“We have disagreements over the fight against the Islamic State, human rights and civil liberties in Turkey and on the genocide,” Macron said
“We also have points of agreement such as the necessity for a political transition in Syria. As such, dialogue with Turkey is indispensable,” Macron said.