British Ambassador to Turkey Sir Dominick Chilcott’s statements on the recent stories covered by media about a court decision relating to the Ankara Agreement.
Many of you will have followed the recent press reporting – not all of it accurate - about a court decision in the UK relating to the Ankara Agreement. I wanted to set out the UK’s official position.
The most important point to clarify is that the European Community Association Agreement, also known as the Ankara Agreement, remains in place.
Turkish business persons and their dependents can continue to apply to live in the UK under this agreement, for up to 3 years at a time, if they meet the requirements connected to setting up a business in the UK.
What has happened is that a British court – not the government - has clarified what the Ankara Agreement says. The court has decided that the process by which Turkish nationals were converting a 3 year business visa into permission to remain in the UK for as long as they liked was not provided for under the agreement.
The court did not say that Turkish business people could not come to the UK to set up a business on the basis of the Ankara agreement. They definitely can and will be very welcome to do so in Britain.
Two important details: Firstly, this decision came into effect on 16 March and will not affect those people who applied prior to this date. Secondly, this decision is unrelated to Brexit, the UK’s future exit from the EU.
As I said, it is simply a technical amendment resulting from a court decision over how the agreement, as it stands, should be correctly interpreted.
To repeat: Turkish business persons and their dependents can continue to apply to set up a business and to live in the UK under this agreement, for up to 3 years at a time. After 3 years, they can apply to stay for another 3 years and so on and so forth.
Our commercial partnership and the bilateral trade between our two countries matter enormously to the UK government. We very much value the contribution of Turkish business persons running businesses in the UK. The Ankara Agreement continues to be an important means for Turkish business people to come and invest in the UK.