(dpa) - European Union foreign ministers meeting their Turkish counterpart in Luxembourg this week will insist on Ankara's recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Monday.
Recognition of the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians by Ottoman Turks between 1915-1923 is not a formal condition for Turkish membership of the EU.
But Barnier insisted the E.U. would raise the issue during membership negotiations with Turkey set to open in Brussels in October this year. Ankara would have to respond, he said. The entire EU project was founded on the principle of reconciliation, said Barnier.
"That is what the Germans and the French did and that is what Turkey has to do ... that is the challenge for Turkey," Barnier added.
Turkey's government has always insisted that there was no Armenian genocide and says a far smaller number of Armenians died during deportations which Ankara argues took place under war conditions and were due to an Armenian rebellion.