France and Turkey find common language on defence and trade
06 January 2018

President Recip Tayip Erdogan of Turkey paid an official visit to Paris on Friday, 5 January, for talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

During the visit the two countries agreed a number of deals in trade and defence sectors. Turkey's defense industry and the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium will now work together to develop a new missile and air defence system. Turkish airlines will also buy 25 new airbus planes. Both sides said they aim for a trade volume of €20 billion annually in the near future.

However differences between the two countries in the field of human rights and on Turkey's EU membership ambitions also emerged. President Macron at a press conference after the talks said that Turkey and France must continue fighting terrorism within the framework of the rule of Law. Earlier Macron referred to Turkey and France membership of NATO and of the European Convention on Human Rights as the two pillars that drive the relations between the two countries.

On Turkey's relations with the EU, Macron said that the ties between Ankara and Paris are based on "dialogue and a common approach" while keeping disagreements in mind. He said it is crucial for Turkey to remain and be part of the European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe. He added that dialogue with Turkey is important and should be established, and any hypocritical position should be left behind.

Macron made it clear that there will be no chapters opened in the negotiations on Turkey's EU accession in the near future, which triggered a sharp reaction from Erdogan who said that Turkey has been waiting for 54 years and that this was an unprecented situation that the EU could not explain." The EU's reluctance to accept Turkey's accession to the bloc has exhausted the Turkish public, Erdogan said.

The visit marks the start of a Turkish effort to recalibrate the country's relations with Europe. The Ankara newspaper, Daily Sabah, which is close to the ruling AKP party, said on Saturday that "Turkish politicians are intensifying their positive remarks and willingness for a fresh start in the country's ties with the European Union in the new year with a recent visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to France, and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavuşogu's expected visit to Germany, two of the most significant players in the 28-member bloc".

Anadolu news agency reported that President Erdogan arrived back in Istanbul in the early hours of Saturday morning.

source: with, Andaolu Agency, Daily Sabah and Hurriyet Daily News.

Photo: President Erdogan of Turkey and President Macron of France at their press conference in Paris on 5 January 2018.