EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell visits Turkey

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell will visit Turkey today amid deteriorating relations between the two parties. Talks

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Photo: REUTERS/Yves Herman

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell will visit Turkey today amid deteriorating relations between the two parties.

Talks are likely to focus on flaring tensions between Ankara and Paris. Robust Turkish support for the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) in recent months has poisoned relations between the NATO allies. Despite officially recognising the GNA, France has provided covert backing to the forces of rebel warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Tensions reached a nadir on June 10, when France claimed Turkish warships undertook extremely hostile manoeuvres against a French frigate. After a perceived lack of support regarding its allegations, France suspended its role in a NATO naval mission in the Mediterranean. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has convened a meeting of EU foreign ministers for July 13 to discuss Turkey’s expanding role in the Mediterranean, where this issue will be discussed further.

Despite mediation attempts by key figures, such as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, expect tensions to persist in the aftermath of Borrell’s visit. Neither Turkey nor France is seeking de-escalation and each views the other as an uncooperative antagonist.

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