ANKARA, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's ties with France have rapidly improved under new French President Francois Hollande, as Ankara declared it lifted sanctions imposed against the French administration due to "genocide bill."
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu paid an official visit to Paris on Thursday, seeking to restore political ties, which had strained after the French Senate adopted in January a bill which made it illegal to deny as "genocide" the killing of over one million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915.
The Turkish government froze its political and military ties with France after the bill had been passed by France's lower house of the parliament last December.
Davutoglu was the first high-ranking Turkish official to visit France since Hollande took office in May. Ankara has hoped the new president would pave way for a fresh page in bilateral relations by allowing Turkey's EU membership bid, since his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy hampered the process by blocking some negotiation chapters between the Union and Turkey.
"Era with Sarkozy was a night mare," Davutoglu was quoted as saying by daily Vatan during his Paris visit. Turkey tried to deal with that period through a "gentlemen's agreement" with Sarkozy in order to avoid further escalation of tension, he stated.
The agreement included that France would not bring any Armenian bill to their political agenda and not entirely hampering Turkey's EU process, the minister said.
"However, he broke the agreement during the election time," Davutoglu said.
"We are making a new and significant start and relations with France are very important for us," he noted.
Following his meeting with Davutoglu, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius signalled that his government was not mulling to rake up the genocide law. Paris was "unlikely to be resurrected" the law, Fabius said in a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart on Thursday.
However, Fabius refrained from giving a clear answer to the question of Turkey's EU bid. "The French government is examining a number of matters inherited from the previous government," he said.
The French foreign minister hinted that the issue of Turkey's EU membership would be put to a referendum. "At the end of the day, things will come down to the decision of the people," Fabius said.
"France is determined to see Turkey carry forward its relations with the EU. In a region of instability, our ally Turkey is an indispensable actor and a factor for stability," he added.
While running his campaign for the presidential elections in early 2012, Hollande said Turkey's accession to the EU "would not happen during the next five-year term." Yet, Ankara hopes the new French government will at least not interrupt its negotiation process with the EU.
Political ties between France and Turkey strained when Sarkozy blocked some negotiation chapters between the EU and Turkey, which was launched in 2005, but has virtually ground to a halt due to a dispute over the island of Cyprus. The EU has opened only 13 of the 35 policy chapters and the talks have stalled since 2010.
Disagreements between the Sarkozy administration and the Turkish government hit a new low in 2011, when the former French president attempted to introduce the "genocide" law.
There upon, Ankara declared a series of measures against Paris last December, cancelled economic, political and military meetings with Paris, halted all political consultations, joint military activities and manoeuvres.
The law was eventually ruled unconstitutional by France's top court on grounds it violated freedom of expression.
Turkey rejects the term "genocide" for mass killings of Armenians in the World War I era, arguing the issue should be left to historians. Ankara has proposed to establish a joint commission by Turkish, Armenian and other international historians to discuss the incidents in 1915, but Armenia has not responded positively to the offer.