May 13 2018

Erdoğan may use his visit to UK for election campaign - the Guardian

Erdoğan’s visit to the UK might be used as a backdrop to his election campaign, though it was arranged prior to Erdoğan’s decision to call early elections on June 24, the Guardian said on Sunday. 

According to the Guardian, the UK is especially eager to make progress on a BAE Systems deal to provide technology for the first phase of development of a Turkish-made fighter jet, while enthusiasm for closer economic ties is balanced by unease at the way Turkey is seeking to weaken Kurdish fighters operating in northern Syria. 

Turkey recognises Kurdish fighters in Syria as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting inside Turkey for more than 30 years. Turkish troops and allied Syrian militias captured the town centre of Afrin on Mar. 18, after a two-month offensive to clear Syrian Kurdish forces from the northwest Syrian town.

The newspaper also noted that the UK is wary of the risk that the ties between Turkey and Russia build into a military relationship. The purchase of Russian S-400s by Turkey has recently heightened the concerns of Turkey’s NATO allies, of Moscow’s military presence in the Middle East.

“By permitting a state visit and audience with the Queen, May and Boris Johnson are essentially rolling out the red carpet for a man with a disregard for human rights, who is responsible for alarming oppression and violence,” the Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable said about Erdoğan’s visit.