By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
The July 15 defeated coup from last year was a “deep traumatic experience” for Turkey that “Europe was very slow to appreciate,” British Minister Sir Alan Duncan has said.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Minister for Europe and the Americas, Sir Alan Duncan, said: “A stable Turkey is essential for wider stability in the region.”
Underlining that the coup attempt took place on his first day at the U.K. Foreign Office as
The July 15 defeated coup, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen and his terrorist organization -- Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- left 248 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
The minister said: “And for the U.K., Turkey really matters and it was our view that we have got to understand how serious and dangerous this coup attempt was.
“This was a very dangerous and difficult moment for the whole of Turkey.
“So I am very pleased that
“Because I think a stable Turkey is essential for wider stability in the region, Turkey -- just looking at Turkey as Turkey -- has to be a functioning democracy.”
About who he thought was behind the coup bid, Duncan said: “We don’t know all the details of who is behind this but we have some suspicions. Turkey has got to work it out for themselves.
“So we’d obviously urge the government to make sure that if you are locking people up or being tough on them, you are getting the right people, there must be justice and the rule of law but at the same time I think the U.K. and probably only the U.K. has properly expressed its understanding of what this was really all about.”
Europe ‘slow to react’
About the reaction from other European countries on the foiled coup, he said: “I think the rest of Europe was very slow to appreciate that this was a
“If you look at the coup attempt and also the other terrorist threats that Turkey faces where 500 people had been killed in terrorist attacks in the last year.
“I think instead of sitting in a comfortable armchair, lecturing Turkey, it is better to understand what they are up against and work with the country to make sure that they could be
Bilateral ties to grow
About relations between Turkey and the U.K., Duncan said he expected them to grow further.
“I think the main thing is there will be a bilateral relation between Turkey and the U.K. and this is demonstrated in the interest we have shown in Turkey by massive tourist numbers, by growing business activity, by the defense manufacturing deal which we have signed when the prime minister visited [Turkey]. And that is going to grow,” he said.
About the positions of his country and Turkey in terms of the European Union, Duncan said the U.K. does not see any hindrances for further cooperation.
“Of course, there is this slightly contradictory position where we are leaving the European Union and maybe eventually Turkey will join it but that will not get in the way of our interest in and cooperation with Turkey,” he said.
Duncan further said anyone who had interests in the region could not ignore Turkey.
“You have got to work with Turkey and so as I think it’s been demonstrated by Prime Minister Theresa May and Turkey has a very, very high priority for us and for me personally,” he said.
About the Brexit process, he emphasized that the U.K. is only leaving the 28-member bloc but not Europe itself.
“People voted to leave the European Union … we are leaving this political club, we are not leaving Europe. If you look at the map, we are going to be in the same place,” he said.
Duncan said the U.K. will continue to cooperate with Europe but also they want to look at the whole world.
“We are a global Britain… this [Brexit] is not Britain getting more smaller and isolated; it is Britain being independent and different,” he said.
He added: “Britain is a strong and proud parliamentary democracy and we think that we elect our government and if we don’t like it we choose another one.
“Although we like cooperating with other countries, we don’t like being governed by them.”
The minister also said the EU membership meant
“My recommendation to Turkey would be to stick with the discussions, keep going, stay engaged and in the
Duncan became the first European minister to visit Turkey on July 21, 2016, following the defeated coup. He also visited Turkey in October 2016 and January 2017.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also visited Turkey on Sept. 27, 2016, before Prime Minister Theresa May’s January visit.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.