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UK-Turkey Relations

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 3rd May 2011.

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Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Conservative, Macclesfield 2:30 pm, 3rd May 2011

What recent assessment he has made of the state of bilateral relations between the UK and Turkey; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

We have excellent co-operation with Turkey on a wide range of issues, as was reaffirmed in the strategic partnership signed last July by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and Prime Minister Erdogan.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Conservative, Macclesfield

Given Turkey’s important role in helping the United Kingdom foster stronger relations with Arab nations at this time of instability, what steps is my right hon. Friend taking to engage Turkey further both in providing increased humanitarian aid in Libya to those who need it and in helping to enforce the arms embargo against the Gaddafi regime?

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

Turkey has already been active on both counts. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is in frequent contact with Foreign Minister Davutoglu about how to strengthen our co-operation both in supplying effective humanitarian aid to people in need inside Libya and in planning for the reconstruction of that country in the future.

Photo of Andrew Love Andrew Love Labour, Edmonton

Britain is Turkey’s best friend in the European Union, yet relations between the EU and Turkey continue to be bedevilled by the issue of Cyprus. What efforts is the right hon. Gentleman making to persuade both Cyprus and Turkey that a better relationship between the two of them will help the reunification of the island and Turkey’s membership of the EU?

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

The urgent need for progress towards a settlement in Cyprus is on the agenda at every conversation that either I or my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary have with both our Turkish and Cypriot counterparts. I am sure that that will continue to be the case, and I hope that once the forthcoming Cypriot and then the Turkish elections are over, all parties concerned will redouble their efforts to reach the solution that all communities in Cyprus need to see.