Turkey-UK ties remain strong despite regressing relations with EU

Published 27.03.2017 00:00

Despite backsliding relations with some European Union member states, Turkey and the U.K. are continuing to strengthen bilateral ties. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke at the sixth Turkish-British Tatlıdil Forum in the southern province of Antalya on Saturday where he described the U.K. as Turkey's friend, ally and strategic partner while urging for further cooperation in areas across the political spectrum, including not only bilateral relations but also global peace, stability and prosperity.

Meanwhile, also speaking at the forum, U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson praised Turkey and expressed the U.K.'s support for the country's efforts regarding the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis.

This comes as tensions between Turkey and the EU reached a new level after Germany banned Turkish ministers from rallying with Turks living in the country and the Netherlands stopped Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's plane from landing in the country while it also refused to allow Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish Consulate General in Rotterdam, deporting her from the Netherlands later on that same day.

Regardless of some of the controversial positions taken by a few of the EU member states, Turkey's relations with the U.K. continue to exude solidarity and support with both vowing to further enhance relations. On that note, President Erdoğan recently called British Prime Minister Theresa May to express Turkey's condolences regarding the London terror attack while stressing that the two countries remain strong allies in the fight against terrorism.

During the phone conference between the two leaders, Erdoğan and May emphasized the need for continued cooperation in the fight against terrorism and further cooperation with security intelligence, according to presidential sources.

President Erdoğan later met with U.K. officials and politicians on Friday evening in Antalya, where he affirmed in a speech on Saturday that 'Turkey is never to forget the support and solidarity of U.K. following the foiled July 15 coup attempt.' Urging European politicians to end their 'improper' position against Turkey, Erdoğan praised the U.K. and said, "The United Kingdom displays an exceptional model through its unbiased position which embraces perceived differences as prosperous."

He also noted that the Tatlıdil Forum is an opportunity to enhance cooperation across all sectors, especially in the economic and bilateral trade sectors. Additionally, Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu met with the Duke of York, Prince Edward, in Antalya where the two officials discussed bilateral political and economic relations.

As part of efforts to further enhance relations, Turkey's representative to the EU, Ömer Çelik, also met with the U.K.'s Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alan Duncan, exchanging views on bilateral and EU relations, the fight against terror, Brexit as well as the future of Europe.

Speaking exclusively to A Haber, Minister Duncan said, "Strangely enough, the incidents happening [in our countries] make us closer with Turkey. Because, we know that you [Turkey] constantly face terror."

Duncan, in his remarks, also said that if Turkey and the U.K. are not in the EU then the two countries could accomplish much more easier. He concluded his remarks by praising the Tatlıdil Forum while stressing that such events will further improve and strengthen Turkish-British ties.

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