Italy’s ambassador to Turkey has reiterated the excellent, historical and multi-faceted relations between the two countries.
"Relations between and Turkey and Italy are excellent, both in political and economic level," Massimo Gaiani said in webinar organized by the Jean Monnet Chair at Istanbul 29 Mayis University on Tuesday, adding that Turkey is an important partner not only for his country but also for the European Union.
He consequently drew attention to the high-level communication between senior Italian and Turkish officials of various state institutions.
Regarding Turkish-EU relations, Gaiani said Turkey’s membership to the union, fervently and continuously supported by Italy, would be mutually beneficial for both the parties.
This is so even when Italy, Turkey and the EU disagree on many things, he said, adding that Turkey is a crucial actor in the struggle against crime, irregular migration, terrorism and many other regional problems.
Asked by Anadolu Agency about the recent Italian-French rapprochement and its possible effect on Italian-Turkish relations considering France’s warm relations with Greece, Gaiani said Turkey’s relations with France and the EU would benefit from this.
"We will make the case of Turkey to our French friends," he said.
Gaiani reiterated that Italy attributes significant importance to Turkey and has shown this on various occasions.
He specifically mentioned the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), of which Italy is a member, and pointed out that his country blocked some elements of the forum, which could be perceived as anti-Turkish.
The EMGF is an international organization founded by Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Greece, Italy, Israel and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.
The EastMed project is a 1,900-kilometer (1,180-mile) undersea natural gas pipeline extending from Israel to Greece and then on to Italy.
Critics say it will not be possible to fill the pipeline with the current known gas reserves off Israel's Eastern Mediterranean coast, and even if Egypt is added to the project, the project's feasibility banks on potential discoveries of reserves in the region.
Remarking that Turkey and Italy are important partners to each other and Italy is one of the most prominent foreign investors in Turkey, Gaiani also praised the bilateral economic ties.
"Trade flow between the two countries is balanced and growing more sophisticated day by day," he said.
Gaiani, however, warned that Turkish companies should accelerate their preparations for the transformation to green economy, considering the importance of the EU market, the biggest for Turkish exporters.
He said many Italian companies want to exit from the Far East due to the cost, logistics, and management problems and consider diverting their investments to Turkey with a well-educated labor force, a big market, and advanced infrastructure.