During a video call, the Turkish president said dialogue had always played an important role in relations as NATO members worked to normalize their relations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told French President Emmanuel Macron that cooperation between the two countries has “very serious potential” as NATO members strive to normalize relations after bitter disputes over the year last.
In a statement, the Turkish presidency said on Tuesday that Erdogan told Macron in a video call that dialogue between the leaders has always played an important role in relations.
“As two powerful NATO allies, we can make significant contributions to efforts for peace, stability and peace in a vast geography – from Europe to the Caucasus, the Middle East and Africa,” said said Erdogan.
He noted that 2021 marked the centenary of the Ankara Accord, which is the basis of bilateral Franco-Turkish relations, and said the two countries have “serious potential for cooperation.”
Erdogan said the two countries can take joint action to fight “terrorism”, stressing that it threatens both countries and their people.
“We hope that Turkey and France can act in solidarity on all these issues,” he said.
A bitter personal quarrel
Over the past year, Turkey and France have repeatedly traded beards on international issues, including conflicts in Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh and the eastern Mediterranean. But NATO members said last month they were working on a plan to normalize relations.
In January, the presidents letters exchanged in which they agreed to resume talks aimed at restoring ties.
Erdogan wrote a New Year’s message to Macron, expressing his condolences for several attacks in France last year.
Macron responded with a “very positive” letter, saying he was open to a meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said as quoted by local media.
Macron’s response proposed collaboration on “bilateral consultations, terrorism, regional issues such as Syria and Libya, and a partnership on education,” according to the Turkish official.
The diplomatic tensions of the past year have been accompanied by a bitter personal feud between the two men.
During a meeting with European Union leaders in September, Macron commented on the standoff between Turkey and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean: “The Turkish people, who are a great people, deserve something else.”
Ankara criticized the comment as interference in internal affairs.
In October, Macron declared Islam a religion “in crisis” on a global scale, triggering a harsh response in the Muslim world, which called for a boycott of French products.
Erdogan joined the call and said, on two occasions, that Macron needed a mental health checkup, urging France to recall its envoy to Turkey in October for consultations after judging Erdogan’s speech “unacceptable”.
He also accused Macron of “Islamophobia” and urged French voters to “get rid of Macron as soon as possible”.
Respond to calls from France and Greece, the EU in December agreed to prepare an expanded list Turks to sanction Ankara’s decision to drill natural gas in eastern Mediterranean waters near Cyprus, but postponed any harsher action until March.