Turkish, French top diplomats meet to discuss bilateral ties

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Monday met with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris to discuss bilateral ties.

Turkey-EU relations were also discussed during the meeting.

The duo also exchanged views on current regional issues and international developments.

The bilateral relations between France and Turkey saw rising tensions in recent years. Ankara has repeatedly traded barbs with Paris over its policies on Syria, Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean and other issues, but the NATO members said in February they were working on a road map to normalize relations.

Ankara and Paris previously traded barbs after French officials in 2018 met with the leaders of the PKK terrorist group’s Syrian affiliate, the YPG.

The two countries were also on opposing sides in Libya, where Ankara backed the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli against a 2019 offensive by putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar. France was suspected of supporting Haftar but officially insists it is neutral in the conflict.

Turkish officials have also decried France’s interference in the Eastern Mediterranean dispute, given it has no territory in the region. France accused Turkish warships of aggressive behavior after its warship tried to inspect a vessel in June that it suspected was violating a U.N. arms embargo on Libya, but Turkey has denied harassing the Courbet. The two countries’ dispute escalated further after France sent naval assets into the Eastern Mediterranean to support Greek warships shadowing Turkish ones in disputed waters.