ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed the war in Ukraine in a phone call on Thursday, the Turkish presidency said, adding that Erdogan congratulated Macron on his election victory.
NATO member Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, and has good ties with both and has taken a mediating role in the conflict. After hosting talks between the foreign ministers and peace negotiators of both sides, it has been pushing to host a leaders’ meeting.
“President Erdogan, who said Turkey was doing its utmost to end the war in Ukraine through diplomacy, stated it is important to support the negotiation process,” Erdogan’s office said in a statement.
“During the call, Erdogan congratulated Emmanuel Macron for being re-elected to the French Presidency,” it added.
Ankara’s ties with its NATO allies, namely the United States and France, have been strained over a host of issues, including Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 defences and policy differences in Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, and the eastern Mediterranean.
Erdogan and Macron have traded barbs on several occasions in recent years. Erdogan has accused Macron of harbouring an anti-Islamic agenda and questioned his mental state, in response to Macron’s criticism of Turkish military interventions in Libya and Syria.
Tensions, however, have eased in recent months after the two allies agreed to work on mending ties. Erdogan met Macron at a NATO summit last month and discussed the possibility of buying SAMP-T defences from the Franco-Italian Eurosam consortium.
Last week, Erdogan said it was good for Turkey-France ties that Macron had been re-elected as president.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Leslie Adler)