Letter to the Prime Minister on UK-Turkey Trade Talks

September 4, 2020

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of our Diasporas in the UK, we are writing to you regarding the UK-Turkey trade negotiations that are underway.

Whilst the UK-Turkey trade talks progress, Turkey has increasingly become a destructive force in the Eastern
Mediterranean, and the wider region, that routinely violates international law. This has caused regional instability, undermines UK interests in the region and runs contrary to the principles of Global Britain. Turkey’s actions include:

  • Frequent illegal maritime and land incursions into neighbouring countries, accompanied by statements that disregard & violate international law
  • Deliberately aggressive and inflammatory rhetoric from President Erdogan to stoke racial, religious & political tensions
  • Extensive jailing of journalists and restrictions on freedom of expression
  • Emerging & longstanding evidence of collusion with Daesh, facilitating the movement of foreign terrorist fighters via Turkey and exploiting/guiding illegal migration flows through Turkey.

These actions are of significant concern to our UK-based Diasporas, as well as the wider British public. Indeed, these actions have led to the Foreign Secretary committing that the UK will not grant new export licenses to Turkey for weapons which may be used in Syria. Our Government has taken clear steps to demonstrate the UK’s ambition to play a positive and constructive role in the world, outside the European Union. We welcome the noble commitment towards protecting minorities and supporting human rights, pluralism, media freedom, religious freedoms and democracy across the world.

We have already seen the UK embark on this positive foreign policy agenda through the new sanctions regime against individuals that are responsible for human rights violations, the global pledge on media freedom, as well as leading the international community response against acts of aggression from other countries. However, this makes the UK’s current absence from the Eastern Mediterranean, where it has historically had a very prominent role, all the more noticeable. These trade talks represent a unique opportunity to reinforce this positive foreign policy agenda, by encouraging and incentivising Turkey to cease its actions aimed at destabilising the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region. The UK can play a crucial role in holding the Turkish Government to account with clear commitments and conditions as part of the trade deal. We urge our Government to utilise this opportunity to reinforce our foreign policy goals. We look forward to your response and engagement on this.

Yours sincerely,

Christos Karaolis
President, National Federation of Cypriots in the UK
Britannia Road, London, N12 9RU

Turkan Ozcan
Chair, Kurdish People’s Democratic Assembly of Britain
11 Portland Garden, London, N4 1HU

Annette Moskofian
Chair, Armenian National Committee UK
7 Bell Yard, London, WC2A 2JR

Mostafa Ragab
Chair, Egyptian Council in UK
95 Bloemfontein Rd, London, W12 7DA

cc: Leader of HM Opposition; Opposition Leaders; Foreign & Intl. Trade Secretaries; Shadow Foreign & Intl. Trade Secretaries; All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Cyprus, Kurdistan Region in Iraq, Armenia, Egypt; Foreign Affairs & Defence Select Committees; Joint Intelligence & Security Committee

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Annette Moskofian
Email / Tel: +44(0)7914646712
Armenian National Committee of UK
7 Bell Yard, London WC2A 2JR
Ph: +44(0)7914646712 | info@ancuk.org.uk