Erdogan invites French firms to join Turkey's progress

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint press conference with the French president at the Elysee Palace in Paris France

"We have had a very honest discussion on this subject", Macron told reporters, saying both sides needed to leave "hypocrisy" behind in pretending the process was moving forward normally.

He did not specify what the step would be, but in November, Turkey signed a letter of intent with France and Italy on cooperation in joint defence projects and Turkish defence ministry sources said at the time it was looking into a missile system based on EUROSAM's SAMP-T system.

Macron and Erdogan already met at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels and at the UN General Assembly in NY in September, and held telephone talks leading to the release of two French journalists held in Turkey.

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.

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Relations deteriorated further 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.

Turkey applied for membership in the European Economic Community, a precursor to the EU, in 1987.

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

"We should. see if we can not rethink this relationship, not in the framework of the (EU) integration process, but perhaps a cooperation, a partnership", he said, adding the main goal must be to keep Turkey - a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member - "anchored" in Europe and its "future. built looking toward Europe and with Europe".

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

Macron and Erdogan also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the fight against terror and the war in Syria. Many have protested they are innocent.

Amnesty International, whose Turkey head Taner Kilic has been jailed, said Macron should "strongly remind (Erdogan) that human rights defenders are not terrorists".

During his stay, the Turkish president held a private meeting with his French counterpart at the Elysee Palace.

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