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Challenges Face Normalization of Turkish-French Ties Despite Macron, Erdogan Exchanging Letters

Challenges Face Normalization of Turkish-French Ties Despite Macron, Erdogan Exchanging Letters

Sunday, 17 January, 2021 - 09:45
French President Emmanuel Macron, EPA

Day after day, Turkey’s desire for warmer ties with France become more and more evident. This comes a few months after tensions having escalated between the Turkish and French navy in the Mediterranean Sea.

On June 10, Turkish warships had flashed their radar lights three times at the French warship Courbet in the eastern Mediterranean.

Today, the raging war of words between French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has simmered down with the two leaders resuming the exchange of friendly diplomatic letters.

Erdogan wrote a New Year message to Macron, expressing condolences for several attacks in France last year, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by local media.

Macron sent back a “very positive” letter this week, starting with the greeting “Dear Tayyip” and saying he was open to a meeting, Cavusoglu said.

Both Erdogan and Cavusoglu have been very open about Ankara’s desire to turn a new page, resolve differences, and expand cooperation.

Erdogan has reached out to Germany’s Chancellor and the President of the European Commission to stress Turkey's renewed desire for rapprochement with Europe.

Cavusoglu was sent to Lisbon, which took over the presidency of the European Union from Germany, to clear the way.

Turkey’s leader and top diplomat had also held meetings with all 27 EU nations ambassadors in Ankara to convey their country’s wish to get its relations with Europe back on track so that Turkey can “receive its rightful place in the European family.”

Cavusoglu, for his part, phone called his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian and agreed on a “road map” to normalize relations between Paris and Ankara.

Speaking about Macron’s latest letter to Erdogan, the foreign minister said the French leader’s response proposed collaboration over “bilateral consultations, terrorism, regional issues such as Syria and Libya, and a partnership on education.”

The two leaders exchanging letters signals the resumption of dialogue between their countries.

Erdogan, according to Cavusoglu, would like to meet Macron in person, but first the two leaders are expected to talk soon via videoconference.

More so, the letter exchange between Erdogan and macron represents a stark change for both sides, considering the personal attacks they levied on each other throughout the last year.

Turkish officials would like to improve their ties with France due to the incoming Biden administration in the US, which is expected to have friendlier relations with Paris.

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