Turkish premier has called on France to quit as a member of a group aimed at securing a settlement to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Upper Karabakh.
"France has clearly shown that it is a side [in the Upper Karabakh dispute] after adopting a law penalizing denial of Armenian allegations on Ottoman era incidents of 1915, which is why it has to step down from the Minsk Group," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an interview on the Azeri national TV network, ANS.
Erdogan said French President Nicolas Sarkozy had never been fair and sincere in his relations with Armenians, adding that his judgement as a Minsk member could not be trusted.
Upper house of the French parliament adopted last month a law that makes rejection of Armenian allegations punishable with a prison term of one year and a fine of 45 thousand euros.
Minsk Group, with the U.S., Russia and France as members, is an OSCE initiative aimed at encouraging a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Upper Karabakh region.
Erdogan said Turkey fiercely rejected allegations of the Armenian diaspora and he reiterated Turkey's proposal to open archives to scientific research by a group of independent historians into the incidents of 1915.
The Turkish premier said Turkey awaited a prospective decision by a French constitutional council on the fate of the denial law, which could be annulled by the council.
Responding to a question over the ongoing popular uprising in Syria, Erdogan said that it was high time for President Bashar al Assad to step down as the number of casualties in the country had exceeded 7 thousand.
"Bashar has to quit his post immediately. Syrian people have no more confidence in this leadership," Erdogan said. "They are killing children, women and elderly people. And all of this is happening right before our eyes yet some remain silent to the tragedy."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Şubat 2012, 11:45