Turkey has one of the most comprehensive structural reform agendas in the G20, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said late on Saturday.
“We have a really comprehensive reform program. We have one of the most comprehensive structural reform agendas or roadmaps among the G20 countries," the minister addressed the Tatlidil Forum, which is a joint Turkish-British initiative, in Bath, southwestern England.
"I believe over the next few months we will push through significant reforms,” Simsek declared.
Simsek indicated that the country has lived through a difficult period in recent years which have seen four elections in the past 24 months.
In addition to these challenges, “As of today we host 3.2 million refugees in Turkey, the majority of which are Syrians,” he told the meeting saying that 800,000 school-age Syrian children were living in the country.
Beyond all, Simsek said the relationship between Turkey and the UK had been “better than ever” and pointed to the UK’s support for Turkey’s EU membership bid.
“Our EU accession is not an obsession of joining a club,” he said adding that “It is actually about reforms because the EU accession process entails economic, social and political transformation on a wholesale basis.”
David Lidington, the British minister for Europe, said the two countries had been working together for centuries but the relationship had “never been as intense, multilayered or as important as it is today.”
On Turkey’s EU accession, he said the UK remained Turkey’s biggest supporter and underlined mutual cooperation on security issues as the clear evidence of bilateral ties.
“I believe it is vital we maintain and strengthen that cooperation to tackle threats to both our countries,” Lidington said, pointing out to recent escalating Russian provocation as one of the challenges the countries have currently been facing.
“We need to work together to manage the disruptive force in world order that is Russia today,” he added.
The Tatlidil Forum, established in 2011, brings together leading figures from the fields of academia, business, media and politics in order to strengthen relations between Turkey and the UK.