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UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's visit to Turkey

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Turkey on 25-27 September 2016.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Turkey from 25-27 September and had a range of talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the EU Minister Ömer Çelik, the Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Foreign Secretary Johnson also had talks with the Turkey-based Syrian Opposition and visited a refugee camp in Nizip, Gaziantep, talking to Syrian families and children who had to flee their country because of the dramatic war.

On Tuesday 27 September, the Foreign Secretary did a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu after their bilateral.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson mentioned that there had been many things uniting the UK and Turkey across the field of foreign affairs, Syria being the major item:

We obviously have a very similar position on Syria, where I think it is the view of my government very strongly, the view of most people I think now in the world, that the overwhelming responsibility for what is happening, the carnage that is being suffered by the people of Aleppo lies with the Assad regime, and their supporters, their puppeteers in Russia and indeed, in Iraq and I think the most important thing now is that there should be a ceasefire, an end to the bombing and I know that is something that Turkey also strongly supports.

When talking about his visit to Gaziantep on September 26, he praised the efforts of the Turkish government to cope with the refugee crisis. He said:

3 million people are now in Turkey from Syria and I saw the investment that you are making in the refugee camps and I am proud to say that the United Kingdom has not been slow to come up with our own support. I think we are the 2nd biggest contributors, £2.3 billion to the humanitarian effort for Syrian refugees. Yesterday we announced some more money for de-mining operations and other forms of relief.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu talked about the bilateral economic relations as well. Related to this, Foreign Secretary said:

And of course we talked about all the optimistic things that we could do together and above all the economic inter-penetration between Britain and Turkey which is growing the whole time. I mean, it is not just the 2.5 million Brits we send here every year. I think our trade has been increasing 70% in the last 5 years and that is something that we need now to expand.

At the press conference the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson underlined the success of Turkish people who’ve resisted a coup attempt and expressed the UK’s support. The Foreign Secretary said:

The United Kingdom is totally behind the Turkish people and the Turkish government in resisting the forces that tried to overwhelm your democracy. It was great to see the way that the Turkish people responded to that challenge and of course we discussed the importance of a measured and proportionate response now to what has taken place and I believe it’s overwhelmingly important that we support Turkish democracy.

Published 29 September 2016