Turkish minister calls Ankara-London ties ‘particular’


    Tayfun Salci and Inci Gundag

    LONDON (AA) – The relations between Turkey and the U.K are “special” as London understood Ankara “most correctly” following the 2016 defeated coup, Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik said.

    Celik, who is in London to attend the 7th Tatli Dil Forum, spoke to Turkish media and described the forum as a significant and valuable platform between the two countries.

    He said the Tatli Dil Forum will open on Friday evening with his meeting with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in which the two ministers will discuss the agenda of the forum and general issues.

    He also said the forum will continue Saturday with sessions to be held in the presence of British Minister for Europe and Americas Sir Alan Duncan and will be concluded with the attendance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    'Special relationship'

    Celik said: “It is clear that we have a special relationship with the U.K. It comes first among countries, which understood Turkey most correctly following the coup attempt […] They have reiterated their support to the elected president and elected institutions in every occasion.”

    He reminded that he had attended a meeting at Turkey’s Embassy in London with high-level British officials from defense and defense industries.

    “I had said something there. I would like to underline it again. They [U.K.] are standing at a correct position in terms of alliance relationship, in this hard period. For example, while some of our allies are making extreme and beyond-the-limit statements on [our] fight against terrorism, […] we have, as you know, multiple relations with the U.K […] Some of our allies should learn how to position alliance relationships from the U.K.”

    Turkey’s EU minister explained that Turkey and the U.K. have worked together on many projects, including war jet projects.

    “I believe [the relationship] will intensify and become a more special one in this new era,” Celik said.

    Underlining that the problems regarding Syria and Iraq, Celik said Turkey’s dialogue with the U.K. continued as part of efforts to solve those problems.

    Trump’s Jerusalem and Iran moves

    Also speaking on the U.S. President Donald Trump’s decisions to move their embassy to Jerusalem, Celik said: “Turkey — as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s term president and a EU candidate country, and under the leadership of our President — spoke with a powerful voice here.”

    “Most of the EU countries have parallel thinking with Turkey on the Jerusalem issue,” Celik added.

    “We are going through an interesting phase,” Celik said, explaining that the intense disagreements between the U.S. president and other countries of the Western alliance is experienced for the first time.

    He said the disagreements surfaced with the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and reached a peak with the decision of withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

    Celik said the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency so far have showed that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments under the deal.

    “A diplomatic success has reached here. Trump’s withdrawal despite this success but insistence [to implement the deal] by EU countries and a joint declaration by the U.K., Germany and France show us that this conflict has deepened more and there are more crises to be managed and lying ahead of us.”

    Far-right threat

    Pointing out that the EU has shaken with Brexit, Celik said the EU could not develop new methods and strategies to avoid this situation.

    “But rising far-right, racism and Islamophobia is the big threat,” he said.

    Celik also underlined the increase in the attacks on Muslims and their organizations in Germany. “We do not think sufficient measures are taken against those Islamophobic attacks.”

    Reminding that various unacceptable moves against Jewish people in the past bore painful and unacceptable results, Celik said: “Everybody needs to raise their voice against far-right’s rising hate crimes against Muslims.

    “Everything is very clear. Racists, xenophobes and those who are the enemies of European values are trying to use Islamophobia and anti-Turkey stance as a smokescreen in Europe.”

    Celik said Turkey, with its regional and global roles in conflicts, is seen as the biggest political actor who could contribute to peace and stability with its capacity and experience.

    He said the high-level diplomacy by President Erdogan following the U.S.’s decisions on Jerusalem and Iran was an example, adding that a similar diplomacy was followed during the ex-spy crisis between the U.K. and Russia and events in Syria.

    The minister emphasized that Erdogan’s visit to the U.K. will be the start of a new era between the two countries.


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