Strategic Partners or Drifting Apart? British-Turkish Relations in the Age of Brexit
As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, London is looking to develop bilateral relations with non-EU countries. Turkey has been identified as an important trade and strategic partner. British-Turkish relations are worth $16 billion and there are 3,000 British companies, which operate in Turkey. Both are NATO members and are part of the Global Coalition against ISIS, while the UK has traditionally been an advocate for closer collaboration with Turkey.
However, there are significant challenges to closer relations. These include deepening concerns about Turkey’s human rights record and its commitment to democracy and the rule of law. Turkey has been also been experiencing a significant economic downturn and is steadily rebuilding and strengthening its ties with Russia. While on the UK side opposition to Turkish membership of the EU formed a plank of the Leave campaign in the UK’s 2016 referendum, adding tension to bilateral relations.
The future of UK-Turkey relations poses a number of questions about the UK’s wider foreign policy objectives while it is in the process of leaving the EU. The UK will seek to strengthen its non-EU alliances, but faces a major challenge trying to balance its strategic and economic priorities while advocating the protection of human rights and democracy.
This Foreign Policy Centre event, in partnership with the Istanbul Policy Center who are publishing a report examining British-Turkish relations, will bring together prominent scholars and policy makers to focus on the challenges, opportunities and pitfalls on the road ahead in British-Turkish relations.
Committee Room 11, House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA
Dr Simon Waldman, Mercator-IPC Fellow, Istanbul Policy Center
Dr Ayla Göl, Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
Dr Natalie Martin, Senior Lecturer in Politics and IR, Nottingham Trent University
Chair: Catherine West MP