Turkish, French finance ministers pledge more co-operation

Turkey and France have agreed to deepen their ties following a visit to Paris by Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, according to Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency.

Albayrak, who is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law, held talks with his French counterpart Bruno Le Marie on Monday.

At a press conference, Albayrak said the two countries had agreed to strengthen links in the fields of energy, agriculture, technology and defence. "We also think that improving cooperation in the financial sector, banking and insurance sectors will be beneficial,” he said.

He also stressed his desire to increase trade with the European Union using the euro, rather than the dollar, which he said, “has lost its status as a reliable instrument in global trade".

Albayrak’s comments come during a political crisis between Turkey and the United States that came to a head after the United States demanded the release of a U.S. citizen currently under house arrest in Turkey. The United States has since imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers and doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium imports, steps that have contributed to the deterioration of the Turkish economy and the depreciation of its currency. Turkey has not buckled to U.S. demands and has responded with tit-for-tat measures whilst seeking to repair frayed ties with the EU.

Commenting on Turkey’s economic problems Le Marie said: “It is in everyone’s interest, in France, in Turkey, in Europe, that the situation stabilises in Turkey … France will continue to back all French companies who trade and want to trade with Turkey.”

Le Marie also urged Turkey to undertake structural reforms. “France encourages Turkish authorities to give this absolute priority ... by using all the leverage available through economic policy,” he said.