8 Aralık 2014 Pazartesi

British PM David Cameron Set to Visit Turkey This Week

After the sensational visit of the Russian Federation President Mr. Vladimir Putin last week, Turkey is ready to host another important statesman this week: British Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron. Turkish President of the Republic Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announced that British PM will be in Turkey on the 9th of December for a two-days visit.[1] Cameron is set to make talks with both Turkish President of the Republic Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu.[2]

The visit and the talks that will be held between Cameron and Erdoğan-Davutoğlu are expected to be focused on recent developments in Iraq and Syria (ISIS terrorism), Turkey’s accession to European Union, Ukraine crisis with Russia as well as bilateral relations between Turkey and the UK.[3] Before the visit, Turkish President Mr. Erdoğan underlined the importance of this visit not only for these two countries, but also for the region. “I would like to express that [this visit] is not only important and valuable for our bilateral relations, but also for the countries and peoples of our region that are passing through difficult times. I believe we will further and deepen our cooperation in line with the expectations of the people of our two countries and our joint political will” said Erdoğan, on the 29th of November at the Turkey-UK Sweet Talk Forum in Istanbul.[4] Erdoğan repeatedly mentions the ineffectiveness of Western governments in fighting against the ISIS terrorism in Syria and Iraq. Erdoğan and Davutoğlu will probably ask for more support from the UK against ISIS terrorism and Assad government. RAF tornados flying out of Cyprus already launched several attacks over the ISIS though these attacks seemed not enough to slow down the Islamic extremist terrorist group.[5]

Concerning Turkish-EU relations, British conservative PM is known as a keen supporter of Turkey’s EU membership. In recent years, he repeatedly and severely challenged German and French position over Turkish bid by accusing Paris and Berlin of “double standards for expecting Ankara to guard Europe’s borders as a NATO member while closing the door to EU membership”[6] as well as “playing on fears of Islam”[7]. On his first visit to Turkey in 2010, he described Turkey as “a great European power” helping Europe to build links with the Middle East.[8] It is also interesting to note down that Cameron’s visit coincides with the new EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini’s visit to Turkey.[9] Cameron’s visit seems to have a more important agenda and broader implications, showing the inefficieny of the EU in handling its relations with Turkey in recent years.

Although not stated openly, the visit can also provide a comfortable platform for two countries to discuss on the issue of recent geopolitical tension of EU and USA with Russian Federation. Mr. Cameron defends harsher sanctions against Russia, but also denies seeking a new “Cold War” with this country.[10] But as a non-EU country, Turkey enjoys having closer relations with Russian Federation in recent years (including a new additional agreement on energy and a new pipeline that will replace the previously proposed South Stream).

In terms of bilateral relations, there is a good potential for the future. According to TUİK (Turkish Statistical Institute), in 2013 the UK was Turkey’s third export (5,8 % in total) and eleventh import (2,5 % in total) partner.[11] In a 2011 report prepared for the Chatham House, Fadi Hakura underlined the great potential that could be realized if necessary instruments (joint universities, think-tanks, business and trade associations etc.) are to be devised.[12]

Cameron’s visit could also be considered as a part of a clever strategy on the side of the British government since the visit will take place just few months before the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli (Dardanelles) campaign which could strengthen anti-British sentiments in Turkey next year.


[1] “Cameron set to visit Turkey next week”, Hürriyet Daily News, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/cameron-set-to-visit-turkey-next-week.aspx?pageID=238&nID=75028&NewsCatID=510.
[2] “İngiltere Başbakanı Cameron Türkiye’ye Gelecek”, Fortune Turkey, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.fortuneturkey.com/ingiltere-basbakani-cameron-turkiyeye-gelecek-4078.
[3] “British PM Cameron to visit Turkey”, TRT, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.trt.net.tr/english/turkey/2014/12/08/british-pm-cameron-to-visit-turkey-124193.
[4] “Cameron set to visit Turkey next week”, Hürriyet Daily News, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/cameron-set-to-visit-turkey-next-week.aspx?pageID=238&nID=75028&NewsCatID=510.
[5] “RAF Tornados launch second wave of attacks on targets in Iraq”, Daily Mail, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2775050/British-jets-make-SEVENTH-sortie-Iraq-without-firing-weapons-Foreign-Secretary-says-RAF-not-panicked-dropping-bombs.html.
[6] “David Cameron warns EU not to shut Turkey out”, The Guardian, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/jul/27/david-cameron-turkey-european-union.
[7] “Turkey must join EU, says Cameron: 'Those who are against are playing on fears of Islam'”, Daily Mail, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1297906/Turkey-join-EU-says-Cameron-Those-playing-fears-Islam.html.
[8] “Cameron 'anger' at slow pace of Turkish EU negotiations”, BBC, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-10767768.
[9] “EU's Mogherini to press Turkey over IS militants”, BBC, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30373261.
[10] “David Cameron denies seeking 'Cold War' with Russia”, BBC, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-29991527.
[12] See; “UK-Turkey Relations and Turkey’s Regional Role”, Chatham House, Date of Accession: 08.12.2014 from http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/public/Research/Europe/0511pment_hakura.pdf.

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