Italian Meloni’s migrant melody for Erdoğan!

21 mins read
Italian Meloni's migrant melody for Erdoğan!

Italy, which joined the caravan of countries that accelerated the disintegration process of the Ottoman Empire with the occupation of Tripolitania, followed a separate policy from Britain, France and the United States in the Turkish War of Independence.

In line with Italian national interests, despite the risk of falling out with Britain and France, Italy secretly made bilateral agreements with the Turks and supplied the Turkish army with the arms and ammunition it needed.

For this reason, Italy created the image of an “enemy in theory, friend in practice” country in the eyes of Turkey’s founding rulers and people. At the end of World War II, they even offered to leave the 12 islands they occupied under Turkish sovereignty. Do not think that Ankara-Rome relations are rosy based on a few isolated incidents like these.


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Because the idea of sovereignty in the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, which the Romans claimed as “mare nostrum / Our Sea”, is still a sustainable policy today. This aggressive and imperialist attitude of Italy, the heir of the Roman Empire, not only affected a wide geography from the Balkans to the Eastern Mediterranean, from Africa to the Middle East, but also upset regional balances, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Ankara and Rome’s commercial and military relations.

Around 50 thousand Turkish citizens live in Italy. On the other hand, more than 1,500 companies with Italian capital are active in Turkey. Regional and sectoral cooperation meetings in Italy and Turkey are emphasized in the work of the Business Council, and the relevant organizations in both countries are increasing their cooperation day by day. In fact, Italy is our most important economic and trade partner in terms of bilateral trade volume among Southern and Western European countries. In 2022, our trade volume was 26.4 billion dollars.

Turkey’s commercial institutions and organizations are working to increase Italy’s investments in Turkey. The trade volume between the two countries is increasing every year compared to the previous one. In this context, Turkey’s trade volume with Italy, which was approximately 23 billion dollars in 2021, reached approximately 26 billion dollars in 2022. Italy is the 5th country that Turkey exports the most and the 6th country that Turkey imports the most.

Italian sources revealed that commercial trade has exceeded 25 billion euros and is approaching the common target of at least 30 billion in 2030. Economic opportunities for Italian companies, especially in the defense sector, were also examined. Astore drones could be equipped with light missiles or guided rockets such as the Cirit system of the Turkish company Roketsan.

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Turkey and Italy, two NATO allies and regional powers, act on the basis of common interests, shared history and values in the Mediterranean Basin. The two countries’ willingness to work in cooperation to find solutions to regional and global issues is important in this respect.

From Afghanistan to Libya, Turkey and Italy are engaged in joint efforts to ensure global and regional peace and stability.

Why did Melancholic Meloni come to Turkey?

In 2024, when Italy assumes the leadership of the G7, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s first foreign trip to Turkey is a message to Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Japan, which make up the G7. Meloni intends to appear before them as a strong leader with Turkey’s support.

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During the meeting between Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Erdoğan, bilateral relations, regional and global developments, cooperation and agreements between Italy and Turkey in the fields of trade and defense were discussed. Erdoğan and Meloni discussed bilateral relations and plans to increase cooperation in the fields of energy, defense, trade and migration.

During the official visit of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to Turkey at the weekend, the migration deal was the first item on the agenda. Italy asked for Turkey’s support to stop migrants coming from Libya. While trying to strengthen economic ties with Turkey, especially in the defense sector, the Prime Minister asked Erdogan, whose experience in this field he does not doubt, for help in stopping irregular migration from Libya.

It is thought that mutual cooperation can be achieved by taking advantage of Italy’s experience in relations with Libya and Turkey’s experience in Iraq. The fact that Libya and Iraq were under British occupation for a while may mean something.

Meloni -Erdogan and NATO…

According to Italian media, Meloni’s first visit to Turkey is an opportunity to reaffirm the strategic nature of the Rome-Ankara partnership in NATO and the Mediterranean. However, the increasing US military presence in the Mediterranean is not a “de facto” situation that Rome likes very much, despite being a NATO member. At this point, Ankara may have let Meloni know that it thinks like Rome.

The two leaders also discussed strengthening bilateral economic ties and the meeting of the Joint Economic and Trade Commission (JETCO) later this year, as well as strengthening cooperation in the field of migration.

No matter how balanced Italy tries to be in the Middle East powder keg, it cannot hide its faltering. Erdoğan, on the other hand, despite Meloni’s supposed caution, knows no bounds in his criticism of Israel. Nevertheless, Turkey’s trade volume with Israel is not shrinking or shrinking. Some Turkish company officials declare that they do not only sell arms and ammunition to Israel.

Why did Elana Elly Schlein, a member of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy, secretary of the Democratic Party, whose father Melvin Schlein was Ashkenazi Jewish, whose paternal ancestors were from Zhovkva in what is now Ukraine, and whose grandmother, from whom she took the middle name “Ethel”, was Lithuanian, suddenly make the statement that the sending of arms to Israel should be avoided?

I wonder for whom these words were spoken?

The tensions in the Red Sea are the latest geopolitical emergency that has catastrophically entered the agenda of the Italian executive and also of Meloni, who chose the delicate mission in Istanbul to start a series of international commitments. There is no doubt that this issue is also on the table, probably behind closed doors.

Meloni wants to go down in history as “the Prime Minister who stopped migration to his country”!

Italy has a comprehensive approach to the migration problem that must be implemented together with its European partners. The Meloni administration’s migration policy is based on three main points. First, the prevention of illegal flows, achieved through interaction with migrants’ countries of origin and transit countries, requires the elimination of the underlying causes of migration and the fight against smuggling networks, as well as the replacement of illegal channels with legal and safe ones.

This is why Meloni challenges French President Macron and says that the dates France is eating are scratching Rome.

Second, patrolling common external borders in Spain, Greece and Bulgaria.

The third is the creation of a common system for the distribution of migrants already on European soil.

According to the decision taken at the “3rd Turkey-Italy Intergovernmental Summit” in Ankara on July 5, 2022, the parties discussed the recent migration trends, including the Eastern and Central Mediterranean migration routes. They also stressed the importance of international cooperation in the fight against irregular migration, including the implementation of the Turkey-EU Declaration of 18 March 2016. They reiterated that returns, resettlements and financial assistance are key tools envisaged by the Declaration to ensure good cooperation and fair burden-sharing.

They agreed to launch regular consultations on migration flows and to implement a project of the Italian Migration Fund to exchange best practices in this field.

Meloni informed President Erdoğan about what his government was doing in this regard.

The Italian right-wing government led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is losing support. According to a poll by the public opinion research institute “Pagnoncelli”, published by Milan’s daily newspaper “Corriere della Sera”, the popularity of the cabinet in office since October 2022 has dropped from 54 to 44 percent compared to December 2022. However, Meloni’s party “Fratelli d’Italia” (FdI – Brothers of Italy) remains the single strongest party in the country with 29 percent of the vote.

While Meloni has recently managed to promote Italy’s image on the international stage, his government is coming under increasing pressure domestically, most recently over boats carrying migrants to southern Italy. So far, Italy under Meloni has not made any serious moves on the European stage and has failed to put “Italy first”. There is a dispute with neighboring France over which country the ships carrying refugees should dock.

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At the beginning of 2024, Italy will take over the presidency of the G-7, a group of seven leading industrialized countries. Prime Minister Meloni, in office since October 2022, wants to use this to make a name for himself in foreign policy. His focus is therefore on migration. The heads of state and government of the G-7 are scheduled to meet in Puglia from June 13 to 15.

In particular, Erdoğan and Italian Meloni discussed strengthening cooperation in the field of migration, where last year’s efforts led to a 56 percent reduction in the flow of illegal migrants through the Italian-Turkish corridor. Given the upcoming Italy-Africa summit in Rome, development and security of the African continent were also among the topics discussed between Erdoğan and Meloni.

“Besides strategic and ‘geopolitical’ interests, in general, Italy and Turkey occupy a similar position in the contemporary international scenario: both are medium-sized powers and have the ambition to play a leading role by facilitating dialogue between different actors at the international level.

Trying to act in a balanced manner on the Middle East, the Italian government, like Turkey, supports a two-state solution in the region. Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani says that the majority of European Union (EU) member states are in favor of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two peoples and two states.

The Parties reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya, firmly rejecting unilateral actions that could lead to violence or greater division in Gaza and the West Bank, and stressed the importance of holding free, fair and nationwide presidential and parliamentary elections on a sound legal basis as soon as possible.

They reiterated their support for a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process facilitated by the UN.

The security and development of the African continent was also discussed in the context of the next Italy-Africa summit in Rome, where the prime minister aims to give impetus to the Mattei Plan.

While the accession process, which Meloni had expressed doubts about when he was in opposition, has ground to a halt, relations between the European Union and Turkey have not gone beyond “exchanging ideas”.

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The meeting between the two leaders in Istanbul lasted more than two hours. On January 20, 2024, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, on her first official visit to Turkey, was accompanied by historian Prof. Dr. İlber Ortaylı on a short tour of Istanbul and the Grand Bazaar.

There were also claims that the issue of African migrants was discussed during Meloni’s visit.

The importance of Meloni’s visit to Turkey for Russia!…

Italy continues to develop a dialog with Russia. And this dialog covers many different areas, from economy to trade, from the fight against terrorism to solutions in crisis areas.

From a historical perspective, Italy has always tried to play the role of a bridge between Russia and the West in order to prevent the deterioration of relations and contribute to the acquisition of common foundations for cooperation.

Italy wants sanctions against Russia to be lifted. As part of the Western world, Italy adhered to its role as a mediator on the world political arena, without openly expressing its disapproval of Russia’s activities in the world and until the start of a special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. However, succumbing to mainstream Western tendencies, the country started supplying arms to Ukraine, thus not only severing its close ties with Russia, but also undermining its own status as a neutral platform for negotiations between the West and the East.

Undoubtedly, this kind of action no longer allows Italy to be perceived as a definitive mediator in the relations between Russia and the collective Western countries. For this reason, the Italian authorities do not hide their tendency to reach the Kremlin through Turkey. Because they have certainly observed the friendship between Turkish President Erdoğan and President Putin of the Russian Federation.

In 2022, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Meloni’s predecessor, said that any European Union (EU) sanctions against Russia should not cover energy. Emphasizing that sanctions against Russia should not be preventive but proportional to the type of attack, Draghi reminded these principles at yesterday’s informal EU Council.

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Following the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian War and the election of Meloni, who has a far-right stance in Italy, as prime minister, Rome’s defense and military expenditures increased. This is fundamentally indicative of the security concerns of Europe and even Western Europe. As the Russia-Ukraine War continues, it can be predicted that Europe’s and Italy’s military expenditures will continue to increase.

Didn’t you find it remarkable and interesting that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, in her meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, highly appreciated Ankara’s diplomatic mediation efforts, in particular its efforts to restart the Black Sea grain initiative?

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed by representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN on July 22, 2022, envisaged the export of Ukrainian grain and food, as well as fertilizers, to the Black Sea through three ports, including Odessa. The grain agreement expired on July 18, 2023 after Turkey, Ukraine and the UN were notified of the Russian Federation’s objection to its extension.

Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that the terms of the agreement on Russia were not fulfilled despite the efforts of the UN, because Western countries could not fulfill their promises.

Putin has repeatedly noted that the West exports most of Ukraine’s grain to its own states and that the main goal of the agreement – to provide grain to countries in need, including African countries – has never materialized.

The grain initiative was an integral part of the package deal.

The second part – the Russia-UN agreement designed for three years – provided for the unblocking of Russian exports of food and fertilizers; the main tasks included the reconnection of Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT, the resumption of supplies of agricultural machinery, spare parts and agricultural machinery.

Meloni came and went, the Italian melody is over.

Selected Bibliographyünya/4807461-i̇talya-i̇srail-filistin-meselesinde-neredeyse-tüm-ab-ülkeleri-iki-devletli-çözümden دیدار-و-گفت-وگوی-اردوغان-و-ملونی-و-رایزنی-درباره-مسائل-مهم-بین-المللی

Ömür Ömür Çelikdönmez

Ömür Çelikdönmez: Journalist-Writer. He held various positions in the Turkish Prime Ministry. He writes articles on geopolitics and geostrategy.