Serkan Demirtaş – ANKARA
The United Kingdom has called for Turkey to show solidarity in its dispute with Russia over the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter on U.K. soil through the use of a nerve agent produced in Russia.
“I just came back from a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where I asked the Turkish government to show solidarity with the U.K. in this matter. I emphasized that the U.K. government would not be deterred from challenging Russia’s aggression and its disregard for international rules and behavior,” British Ambassador to Turkey Dominick Chilcott told reporters in Ankara on March 13.
Chilcott said U.K. ambassadors serving in NATO and prominent Western countries had been instructed to speak to host countries to inform them that London was taking seriously the issue of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, 66.
“Russian aggression is not only a threat to the U.K. but to all countries,” he added.
When asked about what particular demands the U.K. has from Turkey given the fact that Ankara is one few NATO countries with good ties with Russia, Chilcott said London does not want any direct Turkish intervention against Russia.
“When I talk about solidarity, I am talking about a sense of mutual understanding of the significance of the attempted murder in the U.K. If the Turkish government wishes to say anything in public or to support action condemning it in NATO or in any other international forum such as at the U.N., of course that would be very much welcome,” he said.
The U.K. is mulling initiatives in NATO, at the U.N. and at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Chilcott stated, stressing that this was the first time a nerve agent has been used in an attempted murder in Europe since 1945. This attack on a former spy who has been living in the U.K. as a result of an agreement that involved the Russian government is just another example of recent Russian aggression, Chilcott stressed, citing the annexation of Crimea and widespread instability in the east of Ukraine.
“These were two people who were living a quiet life. We completely reject the idea that there is some sort of James Bond-like justification for what has happened,” he said.
Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia were the targets of an attempted murder on March 4 in the town of Salisbury in the U.K. through a nerve agent known as Novichok. Russia is being widely cited as the source of the poisoning.