Emmanuel Macron and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the Elysee Palace in 2018 (illustration). – AFP

French Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Turkish Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed, in a letter exchange, to resume dialogue in order to overcome the sharp tensions between the two countries. Quoted Friday by several newspapers, Turkish Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu declared that the Turkish president had taken the initiative to write the first to Emmanuel Macron in order to wish him a happy new year and to offer him his condolences after several attacks targeting France last fall.

“This week, we received Macron’s response (…) It is a very positive letter in which he says he wants to meet with our president and which also begins in Turkish with” Dear Tayyip “”, continued the minister. According to him, the two leaders should soon have a telephone or videoconference interview, before a possible physical meeting.

Paris expects “tangible gestures” from Ankara

Ankara and Paris have also decided to deepen exchanges in certain areas such as the fight against terrorism or Syria and Libya, two issues on which Turkey and France have major differences, according to Mr. Cavusoglu.

Contacted by AFP, the French presidency confirmed the exchange, without however giving any indication of the content of the letters. “We now need tangible gestures” from Ankara, said the Elysee.

“Problem for France”

Tense for several years, relations between Turkey and France have deteriorated sharply in recent months, the Turkish president going so far as to accuse his French counterpart of “Islamophobia” and to question his “mental health”. Last month, Erdogan called Macron “a problem for France”, calling on the country to “get rid” of him.

Tayyip Erdogan’s turnaround comes as Turkey tries to calm relations with Europe, due to economic difficulties and before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, who is likely to be less conciliatory with Ankara than Donald Trump .