More and more isolated, Turkey seeks to improve relations with France |

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ANKARA – In an attempt to end its growing regional and international isolation, Turkey is seeking to improve relations with France, which is leading efforts to impose European sanctions on Ankara in response to provocative Turkish policies.
Speaking alongside his Portuguese counterpart Augusto Santos Silva in Lisbon, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that Ankara was ready to improve relations with its NATO ally if Paris showed the same will. .

He also added that Turkey and France were working on a roadmap to normalize relations and the talks were going well.

Turkey has repeatedly traded beards with France over policies in Syria, Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the publication of caricatures of the Prophet of Islam Muhammad in France. Paris has waged an EU sanctions campaign against Turkey.

Cavusoglu said the current tensions between NATO allies stemmed from the fact that Paris had “categorically” opposed Turkey since the 2019 Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria against the People’s Protection Units. Syrian Kurdish (YPG).

“Turkey is not categorically against France, but France is categorically against Turkey since Operation Peace Spring,” Cavusoglu said.

Ankara considers the YPG to be a terrorist organization linked to Kurdish militants on its own soil.

On several occasions, French President Emmanuel Macron has called Turkey’s intervention in Syria an aggression against its NATO partners and accused Ankara of dealing with ISIS agents.

Criticism of Macron intensified after Turkey invaded northern Syria, where prisons and camps were built for ISIS fighters.

The French president said Turkey’s decision at the time risked allowing ISIS militants to escape detention and infiltrate Europe.

“In the end, we had a very constructive telephone conversation with my French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian and we agreed that we should work on a roadmap to normalize relations,” he said.

“We have worked on an action plan, or a roadmap, to normalize relations and things are going well… If France is sincere, Turkey is ready to normalize its relations with France as well.

Last month, the EU prepared punitive measures on the dispute between Turkey and its members, Greece and Cyprus, over rights to offshore resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, but decided to postpone the measures until March despite a push earlier from France to sanction Ankara.

After months of tension, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Macron discussed their differences during a phone call in September, agreeing to improve relations. But the two presidents subsequently exchanged accusations over a host of issues as tensions arose.

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