Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan travels to Paris on Friday for talks with France’s Emmanuel Macron aimed at improving relations with Europe, after a war of words in 2017, reports FRANCE 24.
The lunch and talks at the Elysee Palace are expected to take in Syria and EU-Turkey relations, but Macron is also expected to voice concern over Erdogan’s post-coup purges.
The visit to France will be Erdogan’s first since the botched July 2015 putsch and one of only a handful to Europe since the attempted army takeover.
In an interview with France’s LCI television on Thursday, he said he had got off to a “very good start” with France’s new leader.
But in an interview with Le Point magazine in August, Macron listed “having to talk to Erdogan every 10 days” as one of the drawbacks of the job.
The invitation to the Turkish strongman, who has presided over the arrest of tens of thousands of officials, academics, journalists and activists, has drawn criticism on the French left.
The Socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said she was “concerned” about the state of “human rights and local democracy in Turkey”.
The French presidency has however insisted on the need to “maintain dialogue” with Ankara without “covering up differences of views.”
Macron and Erdogan already met at a NATO summit in Brussels and at the UN General Assembly in New York in September, and held telephone talks leading to the release of two French journalists held in Turkey.
Macron has said he will also bring up the plight of jailed Turkish reporters during Friday’s talks.