Erdoğan’s visit important step to develop cooperation, British envoy says


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to the U.K. next week will be an important step to develop business cooperation between the two countries and bring the bilateral ties a step forward, U.K. Ambassador to Ankara Dominick Chilcott said.

The two countries have important collaborations in a number of areas, the ambassador said. “We are very pleased to welcome President Erdoğan in London next week. During the visit, important meetings will be held with both the government and the queen,” he added.

President Erdoğan will pay an official visit to the U.K. on May 13-15 to attend the seventh Turkish-British Tatlıdil Forum in southern England and also meet Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Underscoring that the visit is an important step for both sides, Chilcott said: “This was an expected visit. The development of cooperation will be an important step for both the U.K. and Turkey. Security policies, the fight against terrorism, cooperation in the fight against irregular migration and organized crime will be issues on the agenda. Bilateral trade relations will be discussed; tourism will also be an important topic. I think it will be a visit during which opportunities will be addressed.”

Chilcott pointed out that a cooperation agreement on the Turkish fighter jet project was signed during the visit of British Prime Minister Theresa May to Turkey in January last year. “I am sure there will be talks about this subject. According to our observation, both sides are satisfied with the ongoing process regarding this agreement.

In the visit, Erdoğan is expected to discuss signing a new trade agreement between Turkey and U.K. after Brexit, according to media reports, while increasing the bilateral trade volume between the two countries to $20 billion will be addressed.

President Erdoğan will be accompanied by a number of ministers during the Turkish-British Tatlıdil Forum, which has been held since 2011.

Erdoğan is expected to meet the CEOs of U.K.’s major companies and invite them to invest in Turkey.

The Tatlidil Forum, established in 2011, gathers leading figures from the fields of academia, business, the media and politics to strengthen relations between Turkey and the U.K.

The sixth gathering of the forum was held last year in the southern Turkish province of Antalya in March.

A record number of British tourists will visit Turkey in 2018, up 70 percent from last year, said the British ambassador to Turkey.

Chilcott said that 3 million British tourists are expected to visit Turkey, according to figures based on projections from British tour operators.

Stating that last year only 1.7 million British tourists visited Turkey, Chilcott said: “So we think that 3 million is a pretty good estimate of what we can expect from this year. If we get 3 million, that would be a record.”

According to the ambassador, there are of course some reasons “why many more British people are coming this year.”

“I think one reason is that the Turkish security agencies have had a lot of success in keeping the terrorist threat under control,” said Chilcott.

“I think the return of stability to Turkey has been helpful,” he said.

Chilcott said that the U.K. also had some terrorist events last year, which he said means that people realized “terrorism can happen anywhere and it is not safer to stay at home than to travel to other countries like Turkey.” ISTANBUL / DAILY SABAH WITH AA

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