UK lawmakers support strategic ties with Turkey, raise rights issues

UK lawmakers support strategic ties with Turkey, raise rights issues

A UK parliamentary committee has given its blessings to the government's policy of supporting Turkish membership in the European Union and establishing a strategic partnership with Turkey, but highlighted concerns about human rights abuses that it said make it difficult for the UK to advocate closer links with and EU membership for Ankara. Today's Zaman reported.

"Turkey possesses assets, characteristics and influence that potentially add value to UK foreign policy," the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report assessing UK ties with Turkey and Turkey's regional role. "It is also a rising regional economic power with which there is significant potential to expand the UK's economic and commercial relations, although the competitiveness of the market should not be underestimated," the report said of Turkey.

The British government is thus "right to continue to support Turkey's accession to the EU" and "to be seeking to strengthen the UK's relations with Turkey, as a 'strategic partner' for the UK." But Turkey's human rights record remains a problem for the strategic partnership with the UK and for Turkey's EU accession process, the report warned, highlighting problems in regard to freedom of the press in particular.

"Shortcomings in the Turkish justice system are damaging Turkey's international reputation and leading to human rights abuses, in ways that make it harder to advocate close UK-Turkey relations and Turkey's EU membership. The current climate in Turkey is limiting freedom of expression and the media," it said.

The British government is a staunch supporter of Turkish membership in the EU but the process has come to a virtual halt amid disputes over Cyprus and reluctance in some European states to welcome Turkey as a member.

During a visit to Turkey in July 2010, British Premier David Cameron accused France and Germany, the two EU heavyweights that are opposed to Turkish membership, of double standards for expecting Ankara to guard Europe's borders as a NATO member while closing the door to EU membership.

The Foreign Affairs Committee report said the government's pro-Turkish membership position is justified, but said there should be restrictions on the right to free movement from Turkey to the UK after any accession by Turkey to the EU. "Turkey's accession would be likely to boost the EU's economic growth and international weight," the report said, but lamented that the EU accession process is "effectively hostage to the Cyprus dispute."

"Neither Turkey nor the EU is likely formally to suspend or abandon the accession process in the foreseeable future. However, by undermining the force of EU leverage, the stalemate in the accession talks is having consequences in Turkey that are detrimental to UK objectives there, as well as to Turkish citizens looking to the EU as an anchor for liberalizing domestic reforms. This is especially regrettable at a time when Turkish democracy may be in a critical phase," it said.

By helping to create uncertainty over the timing, if not the fact, of Turkey's EU accession, the stalemate is also discouraging both the EU and Turkey from starting to address some of the most difficult issues that would be involved in Turkey's EU membership.
Middle East role and visa

The UK lawmakers also dismissed suggestions that Turkey is moving away from the West by implementing a new, more assertive foreign policy that seeks closer links with its Middle Eastern neighbors.

"We have encountered no evidence that Turkey has made an overarching foreign policy re-alignment away from the West," it said. "The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) should not underestimate the extent to which the increased independence and regional focus of Turkish foreign policy may generate differences between Turkish and UK perspectives and policies. However, as long as its foreign policy efforts are directed towards the same ultimate goals, Turkey may add value as a foreign policy partner precisely because it is distinct from the UK."

It further said that the Arab Spring protests across the Middle East and North Africa have brought Turkey closer to its Western allies, including the UK, "demonstrating the utility of Ankara's strong relations with the Arab League."

"Turkey has a welcome influence in the Middle East and North Africa as an example of a predominantly Muslim secular democracy, albeit one that remains a 'work in progress'," the report said.

The committee also criticized the British government's visa policy towards Turkey, saying it remains an obstacle for closer links with Turkey, calling on the Foreign Office to explore ways to make it easier for Turkish nationals to obtain British visas, particularly for frequent visitors.

Bulgarian Ministry talks current transport links to Georgia
Bulgarian Ministry talks current transport links to Georgia
Belarusian Belavia Airlines extends suspension of flights to Turkmenistan
Belarusian Belavia Airlines extends suspension of flights to Turkmenistan
Kazakhstan boosts revenues from air cargo transportation
Kazakhstan boosts revenues from air cargo transportation
Loading Bars
Latest
Hungarian MOL Group reveals sales from Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli
Kazakhstan's coal extracting venture opens tender to buy specialized vehicles
Uzbek-Chinese JV to buy engine oil via tender
Azerbaijani currency rates for Apr.20
MOL Group details intangible assets in Azerbaijan
Uzbek-Chinese JV to buy spares for gas generators via tender
Turkmenistan to organize two charter flights from Russia
Uzbekistan reveals COVID-19 data for April 20
Iranian currency rates for April 20
Armenia using radioactive substances threatens regional security, says Azerbaijani MP
SOCAR keen on fast decision for Karabagh field’s development
New Turkish ambassador shares photos from Baku (PHOTO)
Oil prices rise on weaker dollar, likely drawdown in U.S. stocks
Georgian TBC Bank shares predictions on country's economic performance
Preventing glorification of Nazism very important issue, said Azerbaijani MP
India records 259,170 new COVID-19 cases, tally at 15,321,089
Japanese researchers develop 5-minute COVID-19 test
STAR Refinery’s digital projects created $35 million worth value in 2020 – SOCAR Turkey (INTERVIEW)
Turkey, Russia, China Georgia's top trading partners in January-March 2021
Kazakhstan reports 2,530 new coronavirus cases, total at 292, 250
Turkey confirms 55,149 new COVID-19 cases, 4,323,596 in total
Argentina registers 20,461 new COVID-19 cases in one day
Bulgarian Ministry talks current transport links to Georgia
6.0-magnitude quake hits 255 km S of Sinabang, Indonesia
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 724,000 in past day
EU launches digital platform to involve people in policy-making
OPEC+ ministers can shorten meeting in late April - source
Iraq reports 7,775 new COVID-19 cases, 984,950 in total
Romania, Azerbaijan have untapped potential in bilateral trade relations - ministry
JCPOA Joint Commission to convene on April 20
Zarif meets with Indonesian president
UK records lowest daily coronavirus death toll since September
Turkey holds 75 gigawatts of offshore wind energy potential
Tajikistan, Iran vow to expand mutually beneficial cooperation
Georgia reveals share of domestic exports
President Aliyev inquires on restoration work process in liberated lands
Interest rate unlikely to decrease in Azerbaijan – Unicapital company
New CEO of Azercell Telecom LLC appointed in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's Azeronline eyes to expand coverage to remote areas
Azerbaijan discloses volume of exported oil bitumen
Armenia delaying process of restoring communications - Azerbaijani MP
Azerbaijani people won't forget Armenian crimes, but country looking into future - MP
Azerbaijan, Turkic Council reach preliminary agreement on digital co-op (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan Insurers Association talks about current state of COVID-19 products
Housing prices down in secondary market of Azerbaijan’s Baku
Atrocities committed by Armenians have no analogues – journalist (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan’s Bank VTB ends 1Q2021 with net profit
Water and electricity facilities to be put into operation in Iran
Cars re-export sees significant decline in Georgia
Romania has good prospects for reboot of economic co-op with Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan announces 1Q2021 foreign trade turnover figures
Azerbaijani Bank BTB's total liabilities decrease in 1Q2021
Iranian parliament suspends holding plenary session
Azerbaijan shows footage from Ismayilbayli village of Aghdam district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Visit of Israeli journalists to Azerbaijan’s Aghdam district ends (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's 1Q2021 petrochemicals production value down
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 20
Nobel Oil Services further strengthens its Board of Directors
Lending to industry, manufacturing sector decreases in Azerbaijan
Georgia's car export to Azerbaijan down
Turkmenistan offers business opportunities for Swiss private sector in number of areas
Georgian TBC Bank sees increase in volume of non-performing loans
Shah Deniz to account for major part of 2021 gas output growth in Azerbaijan
Aggregate assets of Azerbaijan's Bank VTB down
Record mortgage taking in Israel in Q1
Israel Hayom newspaper reporter saddened by destroyed mosque in Azerbaijan's Aghdam
Iran's Parliament expects to finalize removal of zeros from national currency
Turkey's furniture, wood exports to Azerbaijan increase
Iran intends to increase exports – Deputy Minister
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
Iran provides permit to private companies to import COVID-19 vaccine
Kazakhstan's Tethys Petroleum completes private placement with Pope Investments II LLC
Кazakh national telecommunications operator opens tender to buy spares
WB offers Kazakhstan to switch sewage treatment system to market financing
SES connectivity solutions provider to develop satellite-enabled services in Kazakhstan
Belarusian Belavia Airlines extends suspension of flights to Turkmenistan
Gold mining enterprise's construction kicks off in Kazakh Zhambyl region
Azerbaijan gives update on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 995 more COVID-19 cases, 1,136 recoveries
Presentation of new equipment in Iran’s electricity sector to be held
‘Lift embargo on vaccine raw material exports’: SII’s Poonawalla requests US President Biden
Indian economy better placed to meet second Covid wave with vaccination drive: CEA
10 Democrats Ask Biden To Back India's Waiver Bid At WTO
‘Utilise entire national capacity for vaccine production’: PM Modi reviews Covid situation
FM: Hopeful of getting rest of vaccine doses from India as scheduled
Iran continues preferential trade talks with five countries
Facebook signs renewable energy deal in India
Iran’s natural gas consumption rises
Fiscal package may be on cards to maintain India's economic recovery amid Covid resurgence
JCPOA negotiations reach progress, Iran's MFA spokesman says
Pakistani FM to visit Iran
Kazakhstan increases some ores output
Iran welcomes dialogue with Saudi Arabia - MFA
Azerbaijani payment system expands fintech services for SME industry
Georgia increases oil import from Azerbaijan
Iran's FM stresses need to finalize preferential tariff agreement with Indonesia
Austria will only use Sputnik V vaccine after EMA approval
Iran's renewable power plants ready to attract foreign investments
Kazakhstan's trade turnover with Uzbekistan surges
Volume of trade turnover in Turkmenistan’s private sector increased
All news