Turkey says talks with France to normalize relations are going well

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FILE PHOTO: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attends a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov following their meeting in Sochi, Russia on December 29, 2020. Russian Foreign Ministry / Document via REUTERS / Photo File

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey and France are working on a roadmap to normalize relations and talks are going well, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday, adding that Ankara was ready to improve relations with its NATO ally if Paris showed the same will.

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 Muhammad in France. Paris has waged an EU sanctions campaign against Turkey.

Speaking alongside his Portuguese counterpart Augusto Santos Silva in Lisbon, 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 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.

“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 Turkey’s dispute with its members Greece and Cyprus over rights to offshore resources in the eastern Mediterranean, but decided to postpone the measures to March despite an earlier push by France to sanction Ankara.

After months of tensions, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and French President Emmanuel 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.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu Editing by Chris Reese and Alexandra Hudson

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