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Ambassador Koksal returns to France ending row over alleged genocide bill

Turkey’s ambassador to Paris returned to France on Sunday, ending a four-month old diplomatic row over a French law recognizing the alleged killing of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

Ambassador Sonmez Koksal was withdrawn and Turkey said it was reviewing economic and political ties with France after French President Jacques Chirac’s signed the measure passed by parliament Jan. 18.

Turkey also retaliated against several French companies, canceling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts, including a project to launch country’s first spy satellite.

“Turkish-French relations have been hurt by this incident,” Koksal said at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport before his departure. “But, I believe that both sides will do their utmost to heal this wound.”

Armenians claim 1.5 million of their people died in an Ottoman Empire campaign to force them from eastern Turkey between 1915 and 1923. Turkey says the death count is inflated and that Armenians were killed or displaced as the Ottoman Empire tried to quell civil unrest. Modern-day Turkey was founded on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire in 1923.

The U.S. House of Representatives shelved a resolution recognizing the “so-called” Armenian genocide last year after then-President Bill Clinton warned it could damage relations with Turkey.

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