Currency / Language


NEWS An evaluation of the future of UK-Turkey relations on the eve of Brexit

21 Jan 2018

United Kingdom had decided to leave the European Union on June 23rd 2016. This was surely one of the turning points in the British history expected to have a major impact on the British economy in the long run.

Three weeks later another country had to face a major turning point in its history as well when a coup attempt by a terrorist organization called Gülen Movement penetrated into state bodies (to include Armed Forces) was defeated thanks to the crowds of citizens taking out to streets and loyal groups in the army. After this unlucky experience with a loss of over 250 lives, the British Minister Alan Duncan was the first foreign senior representative to visit Turkey and convey his government’s support message for Turkey, a gesture Turkey would never forget.

Four months after that British Prime Minister May made his second overseas trip to Ankara after Washington. On said visit, Turkey signed a deal of USD 125 million with British defense and aviation company BAE Systems to build Turkish war planes.

Not before long, another very important approach was displayed by UK in favor of Turkey when Germany stopped delivering engines for Altay tanks produced in Turkey, placing an embargo and the UK (via Caterpillar Company) offered to deliver engines for Turkish tanks to help overcome the problem.

Also, representatives of the British Government on duty in Turkey have almost always had a very positive and constructive impression on both the public and the administration contributing to the already friendly relations between two countries. To provide an example, many Turks agree that Ambassador Richard Moore displayed a very positive attitude and performance during his duty in Turkey. In fact, his remarks like "purchase of S-400 missiles is a decision for Turkey to take at its own will" have always been appreciated and upgraded the relationship between two friendly countries.

At this point we need to make a reference to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's statement, "It is obvious that the Fetullah Gülen is an organization in the coup attempt" which also helped to win the hearts of Turks at the time and upgraded the image of the British Government in the eyes of Turkey.

This very positive atmosphere could be a bridge to establish more advanced relations to include economic ones especially at a time when the UK is at the eve of Brexit and would definitely need to redesign some its major plans in this regard. In other words Turkey could make a powerful and certainly very partner for UK and it goes the other way round too. In fact we know that the result of the visit paid by Prime Minister YILDIRIM to UK a while ago has already contributed much on the way to realizing this alternative.

To provide an example, the "Iron Silk Road" project, which will extend from Beijing to London could be one of the priority items of the agenda of UK in terms of its commercial interests. The good point is Turkey has a very important role in this project thanks to its location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and could be in position to offer UK a mutually profitable cooperation for the benefit of both countries.

Also, at a time when UK will have to face a tough competition from Germany right after the Brexit, it is very likely that Turkey would be more than pleased to team up with the UK not forgetting the hostile approach Germany has displayed towards Turkey, recently

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