Turkey: Human Rights and the Political Situation — [Mr Peter Bone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:02 pm on 9th March 2017.

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Photo of Michael Weir Michael Weir SNP Chief Whip 4:02 pm, 9th March 2017

Sir Peter Bottomley has just reminded us of the foundation of modern Turkey by Kemal Atatürk, who sought to create a secular republic. It is sad to see what is now happening in Turkey, which is drifting toward dictatorship.

In introducing the debate, Joan Ryan rightly discussed the ties between this country and Turkey. Others have mentioned that Turkey has taken 3 million refugees from other parts of the middle east. She also made the very good point that the main thing to come out of the Prime Minister’s recent trip to Turkey was a fighter jet deal worth £100 million. The right hon. Member for Enfield North said that human rights issues should never play second fiddle to trade deals, and we wholeheartedly support that position. Human rights should always be up there when we discuss such deals.

In considering that, the Minister should perhaps reflect on what has happened with sales to Saudi Arabia, the position in Yemen and the reputational damage to this Government and this country caused by the failure to take strong early action on how those weapons were used. I think that that will haunt the Government for some time to come.