Relations between Turkey and the United Kingdom

 

The United Kingdom (UK) was one of the first countries with which the Ottoman Empire established regular diplomatic relations. The first Ambassador appointed by the UK to the Ottoman Empire, William Harborne, assumed his duties in Istanbul in 1583 and Yusuf Agah Efendi appointed as the Ottoman Ambassador to London in 1793.

The two countries had a history, marked with periods of friendly relations as well as periods of confrontation and war in various alliances, prior to the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.

The deep rooted relations between the Republic of Turkey and the UK, are based on shared values and continue to progress perfectly as witnessed by the high frequency of reciprocal visits. The leaders of both countries call the current period a golden era in Turkey-UK bilateral relations. The relations, which gained impetus by the visit of Her Majesty the Queen Elisabeth to Turkey in 2008, further improved with the visits of Prime Minister Cameron to Turkey in July 2010, President. Abdullah Gül to the United Kingdom to receive the “2010 Chatham House Prize” in November 2010 and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in March 2011 and July 2012. The State Visit to the UK by the President Gül on 20-24 November 2011 confirmed at highest level the mutual willingness to further enhance the bilateral relations. In addition, frequent reciprocal Ministerial visits are taking place. Both governments share the political will to enhance bilateral relations in every field. The UK is among the strongest supporters of Turkey’s EU accession process. Turkey and the UK share similar views for the settlement of many regional and international issues and consult each other in order to seek for solution.

The “2010 Strategic Partnership Document”, which was signed during Prime Minister Cameron’s visit to Turkey in July 2010, constitutes a road map laying out a wide range of concrete areas of cooperation to strengthen the strategic partnership.

Turkish-British “Tatlıdil Forum” consisting of politicians, academicians, media representatives and artists from both sides was established in order to strengthen and institutionalize the dialogue between the two countries. First and second meetings of the Forum took place in October 2011 in the UK and in October 2012 in Istanbul respectively, both under the co-chairmanship of former Ministers of Foreign Affairs Yaşar Yakış and Jack Straw. Further meetings will be held annually on a rotational basis.

United Kingdom is one of the developed countries with which Turkey has a trade surplus. Turkey-UK bilateral trade volume was 13,9 billion USD in 2011. There are currently 2.362 companies with UK capital operating in Turkey and UK’s direct investments to Turkey in 2011 reached 917 million USD. There are around 250 thousand Turkish citizens living in the UK. More than 2.5 million British tourists visited Turkey in 2011. Moreover, 34.460 British citizens own 26.730 properties in Turkey.