The Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, has arrived in Istanbul for the official visit to Turkey which includes a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the afternoon. In the morning, according to Palazzo Chigi, the prime minister took a walk in the city’s bazaar. The bilateral meeting between the leaders is scheduled for 4.30pm Italian time (6.30pm local time), at the Vahdettin Palace, residence of the President of the Turkish Republic on the Anatolian side of the city.
The issues on the table
The crisis in Gaza, the conflict in Ukraine and the relations between the EU and Ankara, in addition to the strengthening of bilateral economic relations between the two NATO allied countries and the organization of the next Joint Economic and Commercial Commission (Jetco), are, according to Italian sources, among the topics at the center of the conversation between Erdogan and Meloni, on his first international mission since the Italian presidency of the G7 began and for the first time in Turkey since he became president of the Council of Ministers. An appointment that falls at a time when, on top of geopolitical urgencies, tensions on the Red Sea add to those in the Middle East. The two leaders have already met at the G20 in Bali in November 2022, then spoke three months later, on the occasion of the dramatic earthquake on the border with Syria, and there was another phone call in May 2023 after the re-election of Erdogan (now leading the country for over 20 years). Then the face-to-face meeting at the NATO summit and the one in September on the sidelines of the UN general assembly. Then there was a phone call in November, while the Middle East was heating up, and a bilateral meeting at the beginning of December in Dubai.
The strengthening of bilateral relations is also on the table: among other things, the two countries will organize the 2032 European Football Championships together. The Italian objective is to increase investments, especially on the industrial and defense front, to bring trade to 30 billion EUR. Continuing the path of strengthening collaboration in the field of migration is another of the objectives towards which diplomacies work. Current events, however, place the discussion on the war in Gaza at the top of the agenda (Erdogan in recent hours has once again compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler) and on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, also in light of the presidency Italian G7. According to Italian sources, relations between the European Union and Turkey in the political, economic and commercial spheres will also be discussed, also in light of the joint communication from the Commission and the EU High Representative of 29 November, which essentially aimed at developing a mutual partnership benefit with Ankara, even if the accession process is stalled.