The upcoming Turkey-Italy Intergovernmental Summit to be held in July will help bear the fruits of the countries’ cooperation in the past few months, Italy’s Ambassador to Turkey Giorgio Marrapodi said.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Marrapodi said that the intergovernmental summit will be held after a gap of 10 years.
“The time for a meeting on the highest level had come,” Marrapodi said, indicating that although the summit had not been held for 10 years, the leaders of the two countries have met last year within the scope of the G-20 summit in Rome as well as the NATO leaders’ summit in Brussels and other occasions.
“We must not forget that organizations such as intergovernmental summits require great efforts. Now we are happy that we have reached the point when we can hold this summit. The intergovernmental summit will be a turning point,” the envoy said. He stated that the meeting comes months following Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio’s visit to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum earlier this year and the meeting of the Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar in Istanbul.
Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Italy were established in 1856. While both countries are two regional powers of the Mediterranean, sharing similar interests, Ankara and Rome also enjoy significant cooperation in the fields of energy, the defense industry, tourism, infrastructure, automotive and chemicals. , as Italy is one of Turkey’s top trading partners.
The intergovernmental summit will address the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia as well as other regional developments, bilateral ties, food security, climate change and renewable energy.
On the war in Ukraine, Marrapodi said that Italy’s stance is clear and that the country condemns Russia’s “unfair and unprovoked” attacks. He said that Rome supports Ankara’s initiatives to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table and open a grain corridor in the Black Sea in line with the United Nations.
Turkey is involved in efforts for the establishment of the UN-led mechanism that would free Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and allow as much as 25 million tons of grain sitting in silos to be shipped out. Turkey would facilitate and protect the transport of the grain in the Black Sea, officials have said.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, but the war and a Russian blockade of its ports have halted much of that flow, endangering food supplies to many developing countries. Many of those ports are now also heavily mined.
Turkey has maintained its close ties to both Ukraine and Russia. It has criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but has not joined international sanctions against Russia.
The envoy also touched upon defense industry cooperation between the two countries, including the SAMP-T missile defense system developed by the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium, a project Turkey has announced it may cooperate in.
“Cooperation in the defense industry is a significant aspect of our bilateral ties. The perfect results achieved by Turkish and Italian companies operating in this field are clearly showing this. Italy has always viewed Turkey as a strategic partner for industrial cooperation,” he added.
“Looking strategically, Italy and Turkey have a common vision on security issues and are closely committed to international stability and peace through cooperation within the framework of NATO. Their unique locations in the Mediterranean region, makes Turkey and Italy important actors to help guarantee the defense of NATO’s southern flank,” he continued.
Another area of regional cooperation and concern is the Libyan civil war, affecting stability of the Mediterranean region. Marrapodi said that Italy supports the efforts of the UN to bring the sides together for a political consensus.
“We support efforts to ensure that parliamentary and presidential elections are held in a constitutional way. Stability in Libya is very important for the stability of the entire Mediterranean region,” he added.