Erdogan invites French firms to join Turkey's progress

French President Emmanuel Macron told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan today that democratic nations must respect the "rule of law", criticising the jailing of dozens of journalists in Turkey in recent months.

Erdogan made it plain that Turkey would not wait forever.

The visit to France will be Erdogan's first since the botched July 2016 putsch and one of only a handful to Europe since the attempted army takeover.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference with Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi (not pictured) at Carthage Palace in Tunis, Tunisia, December 27, 2017.

Ties between Turkey and the European Bloc deteriorated past year after authorities in several countries prevented Turkish ministers from holding political rallies to court expatriates' votes in a referendum to expand the president's powers.

Erdogan unleashed a series of insults at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, accusing European officials of racism, harbouring terrorists and behaving like Nazis.

The Turkish president said that despite the fact that the Turkey-EU process began decades ago, the country was not granted membership.

Commenting on the possibility of Turkey turning its back on Europe he added: 'One can not permanently implore and wait to be finally included'.

Macron said the two leaders held "frank" talks on Turkey's bid for European Union membership and the human rights situation in Turkey - a major sticking point.

In an interview with France's LCI television on Thursday, he said he had got off to a "very good start" with France's new leader.

Macron and Erdogan also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the fight against terror and the war in Syria.

Turkey has been seeking to join the European Union for decades, but leaders both at home and in Europe have expressed increasing doubts over the progress following mass arrests and sackings after the failed coup in 2016. Many have protested they are innocent.

Protests over deteriorating press freedom and human rights in Turkey greeted Erdogan on his arrival.

The invitation to the Turkish strongman, who has presided over the arrest of tens of thousands of officials, academics, journalists and activists, has drawn criticism on the French left.

  • Joey Payne