(AFP) - A powerful civil servants' trade union plans to hold demonstrations across Turkey next week to protest a decision by French insurer AXA to indemnify heirs of Armenians massacred under the Ottoman Empire, the union's leader said Tuesday.
"We have made a decision to hold demonstrations in Turkey's 81 provinces starting from next week," Memur-Sen chairman Ahmet Aksu told AFP. He said he expected the protests, to be held outside AXA offices, to draw thousands of participants.
Last month Memur-Sen appealed to its 200,000 members to boycott AXA. The French company unleashed a wave of anger in Turkey after it agreed last month to settle a class action suit in the United States by descendants of Armenian victims of the controversial World War I killings for $17 million.
Armenians hailed the deal as a boost for their international campaign to have the massacres recognized as genocide, even though AXA said its decision was neither political nor amounted to an endorsement of the genocide theory, which Ankara categorically rejects.
The deal also dealt a blow to OYAK, an industrial venture representing the Turkish army pension fund, which has been AXA's partner in Turkey since 1999.