Turkey furiously denounced the move by France’s senate of passing a bill outlawing the denial of the Armenian genocide in 1915, with Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin saying it was “a great injustice and shows a total lack of respect for Turkey.”
The French Senate approved the draft law on Monday, which the lower house also backed in December, prompting a furious response from Ankara.
“We will not allow anyone to gain political benefit at the expense of Turkey; the bill which was passed in France is clearly discriminatory, racist,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said.
“We will implement our sanctions step by step, without any retreat. We’ll publicise our action plan according to the developments on the ground.”
However, Turkey cannot impose economic sanctions on France, given its membership of the World Trade Organisation and its customs union accord with Europe, but French firms could lose out on state-to-state-contracts.
France is Turkey’s fifth biggest export market and sixth biggest supplier of imports of goods and services, and bilateral trade was $13.5 billion in the first 10 months of last year.
French carmakers including Renault SA control a fifth of Turkey’s market and French banks such as BNP Paribas SA have assets in the country exceeding $20 billion.
When asked by inautonews, a Renault spokesperson said the situation at Renault factories in Turkey is normal for the moment.
“We are of course looking carefully at the evolution of the situation. In the past, the previous episodes of tension didn’t have any impact on Renault”
“Renault is very well integrated in Turkey and our link with Turkey last for 40 years. We have 6 000 employees in the factory of Bursa.”
Renault produces a quarter of the total Turkish automobile industry.