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Turkish Twist At G7 Summit: Erdogan's Participation And Its Global Implications

15.06.2024 16:12

Türkiye's president was extraordinarily invited to plenary and bilateral sessions of G7, showing Türkiye's growing role as crucial partner in tackling global issues.

The Italy G7 summit of heads of state kicked off on Thursday at the Borgo Egnazia luxury resort in the southern region of Apulia, with participation expanded to include the leaders of other key nations, including Türkiye. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was extraordinarily invited to the plenary and bilateral sessions of the second day of the summit, showcasing Ankara's growing role as a crucial partner in dealing with complex global issues.

G7 and Italian presidency

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni opened the summit with great pride as she underlined Italy's central position in addressing current international challenges, with the goal of promoting dialogue and inclusion. The choice to host the summit in the Apulia region was not random, as the message to deliver was to strengthening dialogue with the Global South. "This land is historically a bridge between West and East; it is a land of dialogue at the center of the Mediterranean, of that middle sea connecting the two great maritime spaces of the globe, the Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific," Meloni said.

In this regard, the interaction with all actors is of crucial importance. The cooperative spirit aiming at finding sustainable solutions to the current crises also emerges from the Italian G7 logo, which portrays a centuries-old olive tree. In addition to being one of the most widespread and identifying trees of the Italian and Mediterranean landscapes, it symbolizes peace. Hence, dialogue with a plurality of leaders in the context of the Mediterranean basin, in its enlarged understanding, is essential in order to build effective strategies and platforms for mediation, resolution of disputes, and responses to growing global issues.

From strong bilateral relations to the G7 invitation

Indeed, in her tenure, Meloni has showed a great international zeal in restoring Italy's centrality, establishing constructive relationships with global players. Rome is pragmatically focusing on the "Global South" by promoting the Plan for Africa, also called the Mattei Plan, which has to be intended as complementary to the European Global Gateway. This renewed approach relies as well on the strongest relations with other key actors, such as Türkiye. As is known, Ankara and Rome are linked by a strong relationship: as Mediterranean countries they are both members of the same international institutions, and share the same opportunities and challenges. Their always-cordial bond has been further strengthened thanks to the mutual sympathy between the two leaders, as it was evident during Meloni's visit to Istanbul in January, sealing important cooperation, especially regarding migration, a dossier particularly dear to Italy. In this spirit of friendship, esteem, and mutual respect, Meloni personally called President Erdogan to the G7, marking a historic first for Türkiye.

Several dossiers and Türkiye's crucial role

The G7 opened with two sessions dedicated to Ukraine and with the participation of President Volodymyr Zelensky. Although an agreement was reached on sending Ukraine $50 billion by the end of 2024, the solution of the conflict is still pending. Among G7 members there is a firm consensus in bypassing a diplomatic mediation and this marks a subtle difference with Türkiye, which instead has been investing a lot on it; an effort recognized by the warring parties and certainly appreciated by the Western bloc.

Besides Ukraine, the G7 discussed challenges of the current and rapidly changing international system. These include, among others, migration, partnership with Africa, war in the Middle East, environment, energy and artificial intelligence (AI). As matter of fact, all issues are priorities in Türkiye's foreign policy agenda, as along multilateral and cooperative approaches Ankara stands out as a regional balancing actor.

Aside from a crucial role in the Ukraine war, Türkiye is striving to achieve cease-fire and a sustainable solution in Israel's war on Gaza, proposing itself as a guarantor state. In the continuous denunciation of war crimes and genocide taking place in Palestine, President Erdogan has been vocal in addressing and spreading awareness on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the enclave. Thus, the G7 summit was another occasion to further highlight the Gaza crisis. In war zone situations, Ankara has already been a broker of truces through multilateral mechanisms and compartmentalized alliances such as Syria, Libya, Nagorno Karabakh and stands as the main donor and stakeholder in international humanitarian relief. In this regard, Türkiye's role in hosting about 4 million Syrians is remarkable.

Regarding migration, Türkiye has proved to be a reliable partner to the EU and the entire international community. And thanks to its regional policies, some important agreements have been signed on border security and control of migration flows. Migration is, indeed, a top issue in Italy G7 agenda. Hence, the renewed interest towards Africa relies also on cooperative approaches with Türkiye, which boasts a historical and legitimized stake by acting as a security and stability provider.

Hence, on critical topics such as migration, security, and energy comes the constructive interlocution with the Global South. The G7 focus on logistics and environment recalls Turkish contribution during COVID-19 in terms of supply and reshaping of the global value chain. Meanwhile, the dedication to environment; the readiness to respond to natural disasters; energy differentiation policies and digital and technology innovation also elevate Ankara as key interlocutor in the G7.

On all these issues and priority areas, enhancing diplomatic relations and building strong partnership become imperative. Inevitably, this passes through awareness, dialogue, mediation, confidence building, de-escalation and win-win approaches, as already experienced by Türkiye. However, from the synthesis of the strategic priorities aiming at guaranteeing stability and prosperity follows the reiteration of the urgent need to stop Israel and its massacres in Gaza and the wake-up call for a new international architecture under the motto 'the world is bigger than five,' which Erdogan diplomatically continues to promote on every table, including among the Group of Seven.

*Opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu -

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