Erdoğan tells Macron Turkey, France have ‘serious cooperation potential’

Turkey and France have relations going back centuries to the time of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and King Francis I of France, and have great potential for cooperation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.

“As two powerful allies within NATO, we can provide significant contributions to efforts for security, stability and peace in a vast geography, extending from Europe to the Caucasus, from the Middle East to Africa,” Erdoğan told French President Emmanuel Macron in a video call on Tuesday.

Erdoğan said that the two countries should take joint steps in counter-terrorism and that dialogue between their leaders had an important role in bilateral relations, according to a statement by Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate.

The video call came “after a long hiatus”, the directorate said.

Erdoğan and Macron have been at loggerheads over regional policy, including in Syria, Libya, the eastern Mediterranean and the disputed Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was the subject of a conflict last year between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In September, the two leaders engaged in an escalating war of words. Macron said that the Turkish people “deserve more than the Erdoğan government”, while Erdoğan told him the same month to “not mess with the Turks”. Turkey criticised a French bill targeting radical Islam a month later. In December, France led calls for EU sanctions on Turkey over a territorial dispute with Greece and Cyprus.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in January that Ankara was ready to improve relations if Paris showed the same willingness, Reuters reported.