‘U.K. will remain integral part of Europe’ – Turkish foreign ministry

The United Kingdom will remain one of the most important and valuable constituents of Europe after Brexit, Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

After January 31, the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the European Union, completing the Brexit process that started with a referendum in 2016.

“Turkey has always appreciated the principled stance of the United Kingdom, which has supported Turkey’s membership to the EU and been aware of the role our country could play with its regional and global position,” the statement said.

The statement said there is a “shared political will to further improve Turkey-U.K. relations in all areas after Brexit,” and added that the post-Brexit relationship would “create important opportunities to develop regional and global stability.”

Until December 31, 2020, when the transition period is set to be completed, Turkey’s relationship with the United Kingdom will continue unaffected and authorities from both countries will work to complete necessary changes, according to the ministry.

The United Kingdom has the second-highest bilateral trade volume with Turkey, with Turkish exports exceeding $ 11 billion in 2018, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).

After the transition period, the United Kingdom leaving the Customs Union could put Turkey at a disadvantage as the Customs Union requires Turkey to abide by EU trade policy. 

The two countries have already started working on a solution, but the relations could take a hit in 2021 if efforts fail.