Macron to meet Turkey’s Erdoğan after rift

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French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday he would meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of next week’s NATO summit, after months of bitter exchanges between the two leaders, Agence France-Presse reported.

The pair have locked horns over a series of international crises including Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Macron has also warned that Turkey would try to meddle in France’s 2022 presidential election.

He has suggested that Ankara’s unilateral moves on the international stage and purchase of air defense missile systems from Russia have contributed to a “brain death” of NATO, where Turkey is a key member.

Speaking to reporters in Paris, Macron said he planned to meet Erdoğan “just before” the NATO summit which begins in Brussels on Monday.

“When we are members of the same organization, we cannot decide to buy equipment that does not allow interoperability, we cannot decide to carry out unilateral operations which are against the interests of the coalitions that we have built,” Macron said.

He added that the two sides had “profound disagreements” but need to “continue to talk.”

A new law against religious extremism which the French government introduced after a series of attacks also aroused Erdoğan’s ire, with the Turkish leader accusing France of Islamophobia.

The Turkish leader last year said Macron needed “mental checks” and expressed hope that France would “get rid of” Macron as soon as possible.

But there have been tentative signs of an easing of tensions in recent months, with Erdoğan keen to strengthen links with Turkey’s Western partners at a time of growing economic difficulties at home compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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