Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to arrive the UK on Sunday, Financial Times reported. His three-day visit to Britain in the midst of a Turkish parliamentary and presidential election campaign will include a meeting with the Queen, the UK is ready to roll out the red carpet this time.
Turkish democracy campaigners and British opposition politicians are critical of the visit because Mr Erdogan’s trip to the UK will be conducted under a state of emergency and with a key presidential candidate in jail. Despite the controversy surrounding the president, British-Turkish relations have grown closer in the past two years, with the two countries brought together by the UK’s vote to leave the EU and the violent coup attempt in Turkey, which took place just three weeks apart.
The human rights activists concern that in the weeks and months that followed the coup, Ankara’s vast purge of Turkish state institutions targeted not only the alleged coup plotters but also critical journalists and members of the Kurdish opposition.
Turkey and Britain: business, trade, counter-terrorism
On a visit to Ankara early last year, PM Theresa May announced a $100m deal for BAE Systems to provide the technology and expertise for the first phase of development. UK officials hope that Rolls-Royce will also win the contract to built the engines and that a number of smaller companies will also benefit. So, the centrepiece is UK’s role in helping Erdogan fulfil his dream of building a Turkish-made fighter jet.
British diplomats believe that their close relationship with Ankara brings co-operation on intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism, as well as on migration and refugees. Despite the controversy surrounding Mr Erdogan’s visit, analysts say that UK officials feel they simply cannot afford to turn their back on a country that shares a border with Syria, Iraq and Iran and carries huge strategic importance.