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Turkish and Italian Foreign Ministers Discuss Bilateral Ties and Regional Challenges

In a significant diplomatic development, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and his Italian counterpart Antonio Tajani engaged in a constructive phone call on August 8, 2023, to deliberate on various aspects of their bilateral relations. The conversation encompassed discussions on pressing regional issues that affect both nations, according to informed Turkish diplomatic sources. One of the key topics broached during the conversation was the aftermath of the now-collapsed Black Sea grain deal. This deal, which was brokered last year by Ankara and the U.N. between Russia and Ukraine, aimed to facilitate the secure transit of Ukrainian grain shipments through Black Sea ports amidst the ongoing conflict. Both Fidan and Tajani exchanged insights into the implications and ramifications of the dissolution of this deal on regional stability and cooperation.

Moreover, the officials took the opportunity to explore their nations’ joint efforts to address migration challenges. Foreign Minister Fidan recently attended the International Conference on Development and Migration held in Rome on July 23. This conference was dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to counter irregular migration. At the event, Turkey and Italy joined forces with over 20 other nations to launch the “Rome Process.” This ambitious initiative seeks to establish a multi-annual platform for collaborative actions, aiming to identify and tackle the root causes of forced displacement and combat irregular migration and human trafficking across the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, and Africa. The commitment of Turkey and Italy to this collaborative initiative was also highlighted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during their discussion at a NATO summit in Vilnius last month. This gesture further underscores the shared concerns and aspirations of both countries to contribute to regional stability and security.

The diplomatic ties between Turkey and Italy have often been characterized as a strategic partnership due to their shared interests, historical connections, and common values in the Mediterranean basin. The Turkish Foreign Ministry acknowledges this special relationship, asserting that both countries work together to address various regional and global challenges. From contributing to peace and stability in Afghanistan and Lebanon, the two nations have consistently striven to collaborate on critical international issues.

Economically, Italy stands as Turkey’s fourth-largest trade partner, a testament to the depth and potential of their economic relations. Their cooperation spans various sectors, including energy, defense, tourism, infrastructure, automotive, and chemicals. However, both sides acknowledge that there is ample room to further develop and strengthen their economic and commercial ties.

The recent diplomatic conversation between Foreign Ministers Hakan Fidan and Antonio Tajani reflects the growing determination of Turkey and Italy to navigate shared challenges through cooperation and dialogue. As both nations remain committed to promoting regional stability and prosperity, their collaboration is likely to shape the geopolitical landscape of the Mediterranean region in the years to come.