Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is in London for talks with Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
Speaking to reporters before flying to the United Kingdom, President Erdoğan said: “We attach special importance to boosting the cooperation between Turkey and the UK. Surely, the Tatlıdil Forum significantly contributes to this. We hold meetings there during which we find the opportunity to mutually assess our views and positions regarding regional and global challenges.”
Relations between London and Ankara are by far the warmest in Europe. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson praised the country last year expressing the UK’s support for its efforts regarding the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis.
Mrs May’s spokesman said: “The visit is an opportunity for the UK and Turkey to demonstrate our close bilateral relationship and to have important discussions about issues of shared interest.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a press conference at Istanbul Atatürk Airport prior to his departure to the United Kingdom to pay an official visit and attend Turkish-British Tatlıdil Forum.
“TATLIDİL FORUM CONTRIBUTES TO BOOSTING THE COOPERATION BETWEEN TURKEY AND THE UK”
Recalling that they had announced the establishment of Tatlıdil Forum during a visit to the UK in 2011 when he was Prime Minister, President Erdoğan said that they will also strengthen the function and the scope of the forum, which has been improved over the past seven years. Stating that they attach special importance to boosting the cooperation between Turkey and the UK and that the Tatlıdil Forum significantly contributes to this, President Erdoğan noted: “We hold meetings there during which we find the opportunity to mutually assess our views and positions regarding regional and global challenges. Developments in the international arena constitute a regular and natural high level theme between us and the UK, our strategic partner and ally.”
“WE WILL REVIEW THE LATEST SITUATION CONCERNING CYPRUS”
Mentioning that he will meet with Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday May 15 as part of his visit and also meet with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, President Erdoğan added that they will discuss with Prime Minister May the regional and international developments on the mutual agenda as well as the bilateral relations.
Underlining that economy, security, defense and anti-terror fight are the priority issues for the both countries and that they will exchange views on boosting the bilateral relations in these fields, President Erdoğan continued as follows: “We, as two guarantor countries, will definitely review the latest situation concerning Cyprus and talk about the developments in Europe. We will have the opportunity to talk over the recent developments in our region, notably Syria, Iraq, Iran and the comprehensive joint action plan, as well.”
“OUR GOAL IS TO REACH $20 BILLION IN BILATERAL TRADE VOLUME”
Underscoring that the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and the UK reached 16.2 billion dollars in 2017 and 5 billion dollars between January and March 2018 by increasing 39%, President Erdoğan said that their goal is to reach 20 billion dollars.
Stressing he believes that potentials of the both countries are more than that number, President Erdoğan added: “In particular, investments and joint projects are very important in order to reach this goal. The UK ranks among the countries that invest in Turkey the most by having directly invested nearly 10 billion dollars over the past 15 years.”
“WE WILL PUT MANY PROJECTS INTO PRACTICE IN DEFENSE INDUSTRY”
Pointing out that TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industries) and British firms in defense industry are in cooperation on the national fighter aircraft project that they have designed as a fifth generation warplane, President Erdoğan said: “God willing, we will put a lot more projects which have strategical importance into practice in defense industry. As the governments of Turkey and the UK, we want our economic cooperation to uninterruptedly continue after the Brexit process. We want to turn this period into an opportunity to further boost our economic cooperation which is already at a very positive level, and we are determinedly taking the necessary steps to this end.”
Mentioning that as part of his visit he will also meet with the executives of the firms that are already investing and willing to invest in Turkey, President Erdoğan added that he will deliver an address at Chatham House, one of the most prestigious international think-tanks, and thus will have the opportunity to convey his messages to the international community by meeting with the participants there. President Erdoğan further noted that he will also visit some other think-tanks and non-governmental organizations.
“12 OBSERVATION POSTS WILL BE SET UP IN IDLIB”
Responding to a question on Turkey’s position in Syria, President Erdoğan said: “We aren’t disturbing anyone. We will respond if anyone attempts to encounter us, but we have got nothing to do with those who don’t. We have been fighting and will continue to fight against the terrorist organization. Afrin and Jarabulus have been good examples of this. We have taken and will continue to take that area sought to be turned into a terror corridor under our control from the easternmost to the westernmost.”
Pointing out that Turkey has set up 10 observation posts in Idlib region and that two more observation posts will be set up within a week, President Erdoğan underlined that the problems in Idlib region which have been taken under control with 12 observation posts will have been solved to a great extent, and added: “As is known, we have Tell Rifaat and Manbij issues. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs had a pre-talk with the US Secretary of State on these issues, and more talks will be held. In addition to this, we want them to keep their promise they made to us. We want the US to make PYD/YPG leave Manbij, and if they keep their promise, the true owners of Manbij will come and settle there.”
Congratulating Mother’s Day following his statements, President Erdoğan headed for London with the accompanying delegation. President Erdoğan was seen off by Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey İsmail Kahraman, Governor of Istanbul Vasip Şahin, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mevlüt Uysal, AK Party’s Istanbul Head Bayram Şenocak and other officials.