French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that despite disagreements with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two leaders have decided to meet and talk.
“We have deep disagreements, and we know it. We have had controversies sometimes, and we accept them. But no matter what the disagreements, we always have to talk," Macron was quoted by the Le Monde newspaper as saying in response to a question during a press conference held ahead of the G7 summit and NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels.
Macron is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Erdogan on Monday in Brussels at the start of the NATO gathering.
"We both wanted it. I think it's a good thing. We need to see each other and engage in dialogue," he said.
The two leaders are likely to discuss international situations related to the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. Macron said he also wishes to seek clarification from Turkey on contentious issues within NATO like on procuring weapons with no interoperability and unilateral operations contrary to the interests of allies.
Despite being NATO allies, France and Turkey have had confrontations and are on the opposing sides of conflicts in Syria, the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya and in the Caucasus. Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles, which cannot be integrated into NATO’s defense system, has raised concerns among NATO members.
Macron added that he will also discuss France’s recent domestic policies and legislation targeting radical Islam, which exacerbated a rift with Erdogan and led Turkey to boycott French products.
"I also wish to explain the work that France is carrying out to fight precisely against radical Islamism and against separatism but which is in no way an approach of mistrust with regard to the Muslim community," Macron was quoted as saying by Le Monde.