Energy, defense and SMEs: all the Italy-Turkey agreements

Energy, defense and SMEs: all the Italy-Turkey agreements

What was discussed at the third intergovernmental summit between Italy and Turkey. Marco Orioles's article

For the third Italian-Turkish intergovernmental summit held yesterday at the presidential palace in Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan laid the red carpet for Mario Draghi and his accompanying ministers (Luigi Di Maio for the Farnesina, the holder of the Defense Lorenzo Guerini, the minister of the Interior Luciana Lamorgese, Giancarlo Giorgetti of the Mise and the Minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani).

The summit of rapprochement

The summit had not been updated for ten years, a sign of the strained relations between Italy and Turkey, and between the latter and the entire West, culminating in the famous declaration with which Draghi last year branded the "dictator" Turkish president. But now, with the war in Ukraine that has changed the cards of international politics, the effort to settle the divisions and find an agreement on the numerous open dossiers, such as Libya, immigration and energy, has been evident.

Despite the frictions of recent years, during which Erdogan was also treated by the United States more as a pariah than as an ally, relations between the two countries have always remained solid at an economic level, proof of this is, as Adnkronos recalls, an exchange commercial growth of 27.7% in the last year and Italian direct investments in Turkey amounting to approximately 6 billion dollars.

The words of the leaders

Of all this, as well as the hope for a mending of the bilateral relationship, there is trace in the statements made by the two leaders during the summit.

“Today's meeting”, were the words of the Italian premier, “indicates a common will to strengthen collaboration between our countries. Italy and Turkey are partners, friends, allies. We face great challenges, starting with the war in Ukraine, and we want to work together to tackle them ”.

“Today”, Erdogan remarked , “we have held this third Italian-Turkish intergovernmental summit. We have addressed regional and international topics. We have signed 9 agreements, our commercial and economic relationships are increasingly developed. We have exceeded $ 23 billion and this year we can reach $ 25 billion. We have military and defense relations with Italy and we agree to develop and deepen them ".

Draghi's support for Turkish efforts to unblock Ukrainian wheat

Crucial for both, the question of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen important points of convergence, with Italy supporting Turkey's attempt to break the deadlock on Ukrainian wheat stuck in silos. “I want to thank Turkey for its mediation effort – said Draghi – in particular as regards the release of frozen cereals in the cities of the Black Sea. We must release these supplies as soon as possible, and those of fertilizers, to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. and social in the poorest countries in the world ".

Convergence on Libya

Progress has also been made on the Libyan front, where there is an effective convergence in the common desire to support internationally recognized leadership and to reject the growing Russian penetration that is holding back the development of the hydrocarbon sector, which is crucial for an Italy committed to diversification of its sources of supply.

"Peace and stabilization of Libya are priority objectives of Italy and Turkey. We agreed to do everything possible to restore peace and stability to Libya. Our coordination will become closer in the future, ” said the prime minister.

Understanding on migration

On the migration front, there was a desire to strengthen cooperation when the flows involving Italy have more than tripled compared to last year. As Erdogan said, the meeting discussed the opportunity to "put together a joint migration control mechanism".

The energy dossier

But it is on the question of energy that the dialogue between Italy and Turkey is proposed at a strategic level, also due to the presence on Turkish soil of the Tanap gas pipeline that crosses the entire country from East to West and then connects with TAP. Thanks to this infrastructure, the Turkish one represents today the third gas supply route for our country after the flows coming from Algeria and Russia.

Regarding the opportunity to deepen relations, Erdogan referred to the gas discovered by his country off the Black Sea in the field called Sakarya, for the exploitation of which, the Turkish president himself announced, Italy and Turkey "will collaborate for the construction of a gas pipeline ".

But the talks were not conclusive regarding the node of the Eni gas fields off the coast of Cyprus, where the six-legged dog group works together with other large companies around the "Leviathan" field, as well as the Eastmed gas pipeline project that ran aground. precisely because of the Turkish opposition. The question of territorial disputes between Ankara, Athens and Nicosia, which for the moment block the development of the important projects in the pipeline, is also too intricate for Mario Draghi.

Nine agreements signed

The summit culminated with the signing by the Italian ministers and their Turkish counterparts of nine cooperation agreements in the fields of defense, trade, security, transport and culture ( here the in-depth analysis of Start Magazine on defense ).

The defense agreement and the Samp-t project

Particularly relevant was the agreement on the "protection of information in the defense industry", aimed at guaranteeing the security of classified information exchanged in the context of industrial development and procurement activities in the military field.

At the bottom of this specific agreement is the acceleration underway for Turkey's entry into the Italian-French “Samp-t” project, one of the most modern artillery systems in the world with a range of up to 100 kilometers.

As the Italian diplomats who followed the dossier pointed out to the Corriere della Sera , the hypothesis that Ankara joins with its industries to those of Paris and Rome implies "anchoring Turkey even more to the Atlantic Alliance system, means integrating its military industry with important parts of the European industrial system means above all inducing it to give up buying its anti-missile systems from Moscow, an absolute anomaly for a country belonging to NATO ”.

The text of the agreement states that "Each of the Parties undertakes to protect the classified information received from the other Party on the basis of its own national legislation in the sector and to process the information acquired by applying the security measures provided for by the respective regulations, prohibiting the transfer of classified information to third parties without the prior consent of the counterparty (…) The Agreement also defines the methods of reproduction, translation and destruction of classified information, as well as the procedures for the exchange of visits between the Parties or between companies under their jurisdiction which involve access to classified information. With reference to the protection measures of personal data, the sector legislation of the security sector does not require the prior acquisition of adequate guarantees in case of transfer of such data to third countries deemed 'inadequate', i.e. not belonging to the European Union or to the European Economic Area ".

The Protocol on small and medium-sized enterprises

Also very important is the "Memorandum of Understanding on micro-small and medium-sized enterprises", proposed by the Mise and consisting of ten articles, the protocol, as writes, "aims to contribute to economic development and bilateral commercial cooperation , deepening the spaces for collaboration between Italian and Turkish micro-small and medium-sized enterprises, while at the same time enhancing their competitiveness in global markets.

To this end, the Protocol provides, among other things, for the sharing of information, data and experiences between companies and the organization of business trips to encourage commercial relations and the formation of joint ventures ".

The other agreements

The agreements on the mutual recognition of driving licenses, on political consultations between foreign ministries, on cooperation in training between the Farnesina and the Diplomatic Academy of Ankara, on cooperation in the field of civil protection, on that in the field of sustainable development and scientific cooperation.

The summit of the thaw

With the Sofiagate incident closed, Italy and Turkey are once again on the road to cooperation. On the other hand, it was Draghi himself, on the occasion of his declaration on Erdogan as dictator , who emphasized that with certain countries one must always cooperate in the name of shared strategic interests.

We do not find out today that Rome and Ankara are not in harmony on numerous points. However, Realpolitik requires us to look beyond, and when Russia threatens the stability of half the world, Ankara is forced to take numerous steps backwards, compared to the times in which it proposed itself as the largest buyer of Moscow's arms and shameless independent player in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

But the lack of harmony on a fundamental strategic dossier such as that of gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean shows that there are still steps to be taken before Turkey and Italy can say that they are on the same side.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Wed, 06 Jul 2022 08:03:13 +0000.