As Turkey's relations with European countries have been in a downward spiral, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that pushing Turkey away is a wrong policy and underlined the geostrategic significance of the country.
"I think pushing Turkey further away is a risk. There are millions of Turkish people who favor cooperation with the U.K., want to form friendship and share our ideals, and have a Euro-Atlantic vision for their country," Johnson said on Oct. 1 at a foreign affairs session of the House of Commons when asked why the U.K. does not take a hardline policy on Turkey.
Johnson said that Turkey should not be a country of top priority regarding human rights issues.
Ties between Turkey and EU members have been strained since the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt, as Ankara has repeatedly slammed European countries for failing to show solidarity with the Turkish government against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which orchestrated the deadly coup attempt, and for providing asylum to Gülenist coup plotters.
British Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Alan Duncan was the first EU politician to visit Ankara nearly a week after the attempt.
Ankara's deteriorated relations with European countries have raised concerns over the future of ties. Ankara repeatedly stressed its expectations from European countries, particularly Germany, Belgium and Austria, in confronting terrorism, and warned them not to condone the activities of terrorist groups in their countries.
Even though some European leaders favor imposing hardline policies on Turkey and end its EU accession bid, former European Commissioner for Enlargement Günter Verheugen said last week that the EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needed the EU.
"We are not questioning whether Turkey is a part of Europe or not, it obviously is. The EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU," he said.
He went on to say that Turkey does not need the EU's perspective as it already has a wide perspective.
"The EU is unaware of the benefits that it can gain from rule of law in Turkey and Turkey's rapid development," he said.
He added that the EU should not argue with Ankara, rather it should argue about specific issues with Ankara together.
Stressing that the EU is now going through a period of struggle as it looks to stay alive, Verheugen said, "Turkey renders the EU more powerful in terms of politics, economy and security."
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