Turkey has ceased all negotiations with Gaz de France for the construction of the Nabucco natural gas pipeline, Reuters informs. The decision came as a response to the French demand for Turkey's recognition of the Armenian massacre at the beginning of the XXth century.

The Nabucco project is designed to transport Turkish natural gas towards Austria, crossing Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Such a pipeline would greatly reduce Europe's dependence on Russian gas.

France issued a protest against the Ankara administration, due to a law adopted in 2006, denying that a genocide took place. "We will suspend all negotiations with Gaz de France until the presidential elections in France", said a Turkish official, quoted by Reuters.

Turkish Energy and Resources Minister, Hilmi Guler, refused to make any public comments on the subject. All other four states involved in the project have already approved the partnership with Gaz de France.

The project is worth some 4.6 billion euros and was often criticized for its repeated delays. In case the construction begins in 2008, the 3,300 kilometers long pipeline would be operational in 2011 and would be able to deliver between 25.5 and 31 million cubic meters of gas every year.