Turkey has become an indispensable partner for the UK and the two countries are heading toward strategic partnership, Sir Dominick Chilcott, British Ambassador to Turkey, said in his interview with Hürriyet newspaper on Saturday.
“Turkey has become an indispensable partner for the UK. If you look at the issues the UK is engaged at the international level; these are the security of British citizens, the national security and the economic welfare of the UK. Turkey is an important country for us in all those areas,” Chilcott said the day before Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to the UK. “If you consider the importance of Turkey for us and the importance of us for Turkey, we see that our partnership has a strategic dimension, we are heading toward strategic partnership.”
On the issue of partnership between two countries in the struggle against terrorism, Chilcott said that the UK has already added the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in its list of terrorist organisations. Turkey also recognises Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria an extension of the PKK and organised a military offense in northwest Syrian town of Afrin in early 2018, to clear the area of YPG fighters.
“YPG is not in our list yet, but we are not naive. We see that there are close ties between YPG and PKK,” Chilcott said to Hürriyet, adding that two British citizens, who went to Syria to fight for the YPG, have been detained after they returned to the UK.
According to Chilcott, the British government has no doubt that the coup attempt in 2016 was masterminded by the Gülen movement, a religious group. “We don’t want Britain to be a safe haven for those coup plotters. But in order to take measures against individuals, we need to have concrete evidence. Therefore, we need to receive information from the Turkish government. We have no sympathy for the members of the organisation who organized the coup attempt, and we have no doubt that Gülenists orchestrated it,” the Ambassador said.
Chilcott also said that the growing relations between Turkey and Russia did not pose a threat for the UK, as it was not an alliance.
Turkey lightly scolded Russia and refused to join its NATO allies, after the UK, the EU and the Unites States expelled over 100 Russian diplomats, as a reaction to the nerve gas attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury in March.