British-Turkish relations are experiencing their best days, through the increase in the pace of political coordination, trade cooperation, and diplomatic communication, which has attracted the attention of Europeans, who do not view with satisfaction this rapprochement between London and Ankara, after it is just around the corner from the crowning of a huge commercial agreement between The two countries.
And almost no international crisis will pass without diplomatic contact between Britain and Turkey, whether between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, or between foreign ministers, for the purpose of coordination, and the last of which was the contact that brought together officials for the purpose of discussing the Nagorno Karabakh crisis between Azerbaijan And Armenia.
Contrary to the critical diplomatic tone issued by many European countries towards Turkey, the British discourse always tends towards dialogue and communication, and dealing with Turkey as a partner and not an opponent, which prompted the European Reform Center, which is based in London, and is known for its proximity to the European Union, to describe the relations between Britain and Turkey as “a relationship of best friends”.
The arrival of relations between the two countries to this stage, which broke the European-Turkish tension, is due to several reasons, in which the political and commercial security intertwine.
The failed coup
The failed coup in Turkey in 2016 was an important event in which Ankara was able to know its friends and enemies, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized on more than one occasion, and among the friends who appeared in this crisis is the United Kingdom, which was the first European country to announce its condemnation of the coup attempt, and prepare it A coup against legitimacy.
The British government did not wait until the withdrawal of the confrontations that took place on the night of the coup was clear, to determine its position; Rather, it immediately announced that it was standing against it, unlike other Western countries that chose to remain silent until it became apparent to them that the coup attempt failed to issue condemnation statements.
This British position contributed to closer cooperation with Turkey, and no diplomatic confrontation has been recorded between the two countries since that crisis, despite the succession of violent events that rocked European-Turkish relations.
Turkey and Europe meet in weaving intertwined relations with the European Union, or what may be called the “European knot”. Britain, for decades, has been dissatisfied with its presence in the European Union, and sees that the latter robs it of its money and its sovereignty, while Turkey is for decades trying to join the European Union To no avail, for purely political reasons.
This confused relationship with the European bloc prompted Turkey to announce the cessation of its attempts to join the Union, while the United Kingdom decided to withdraw from it, and here the interests of Ankara, which are angry at the Union, refuse to grant it membership, and London is angry, and both of them are looking for their interests outside the Union, and seeking to strengthen their position without need To exist within the institutions of the European Union.
Britain was one of the European countries that supported Turkey’s accession to the European Union, and it had never recorded its rejection of this step, unlike other European countries that spare no effort in declaring opposition to Turkey’s entry into the European club.
The year 2016 was also a milestone in the history of the United Kingdom, after the vote on the referendum to leave the European Union, and despite the country’s entry into many mazes about the European divorce formula; However, this change contributed to the UK’s search for new partners, and former Prime Minister Theresa May embarked on a number of visits to Asian, African and Gulf countries in search of compensation for the European partner.
Turkey was one of the countries that attracted the attention of European diplomacy, and because the Kingdom wanted to increase its friends, it pursued a policy with Turkey of “good treatment and non-interference in its affairs.” Perhaps this is what drew the anger of European countries that tried to pressure them through research centers to push London to announce critical positions. To Turkey, as happened in the recent crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece, as Britain moved away from the escalatory rhetoric adopted by European countries, and maintained a distance from this conflict.
Within a year, the British capital, London, received Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on an official visit, followed by another visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“Thank you to the Turkish friend”, a statement issued by the British diplomacy during the Corona epidemic, and the reason for this thanks is Turkey’s decision to direct a huge shipment of medical equipment to the United Kingdom, which at the time was facing an acute shortage of medical equipment.
The Turkish planes, which reached Britain, had a positive impact on the level of the British media, which considered the Turkish behavior a respectable behavior, at a time when European countries were competing with each other and quarreling to obtain the largest amount of medical equipment.
The conclusion of a trade agreement by Britain and Turkey is almost certain, according to what has been announced by more than one senior official from the two countries, and thus it will be the third agreement concluded by Britain after the trade agreement with Japan, and another with the United States is in its final stages.
The volume of trade exchange between the two parties amounts to 16.3 billion dollars, while seeking to raise it to 20 billion dollars during the next year, and Britain is the second European trade partner for Turkey after Germany, while the volume of British direct investments in Turkey is about 10 billion dollars, and 2500 British companies operate in Turkey. Various fields, the most important of which are energy, communications and the financial sector.
In 2017, Turkey and Britain concluded a defense deal worth $ 120 million, to contribute to the Turkish warplanes development program, and the agreement was concluded between BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries.
Britain is counting on this deal in order to promote its defense industry, and Turkey expects to develop the capacity of the air force, as part of the Turkish army’s endeavor to achieve self-sufficiency in the manufacture of war equipment.