UK advisory group begins review of relations with Turkey

The Foreign Affairs select committee held a parliamentary session on foreign policy and Turkish domestic security. The panel began their work with a hearing of British and Turkish academics.

Photo by: IHA
Photo by: IHA

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, bombed by FETO-linked soldiers during the July 15 coup attempt, September 27, 2016 (IHA Photo)

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee began a review of Turkish-UK relations on 1 November. The review covers a wide range of issues including foreign policy and security issues as well as Turkey’s stance towards human rights and freedoms.

Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Crispin Blunt MP, said: "Our inquiries into Syria and ISIL (Daesh) had shown the importance of properly evaluating the UK’s relationship with Turkey, and recent events have heaped significance on the terms that we announce today." 

Such reviews are commonplace in the British parliament. British ‘select committees’ are small groups in the British House of Commons, or one of the two major lawmaking bodies in government, that are tasked with the advising the government in special areas. They are often comprised of subject-matter experts within parliament.

Select committees hear what experts, activists, civil servants have to say on a subject in public hearings. Afterwards, the committee issues a report that includes recommendations for the government to respond to within about two months. 

Academics were the first to give evidence to the committee. Among them were professor William Hale of SOAS University of London, Rosemary Hollis professor of Middle East Policy Studies at City University, resident fellow Ziya Meral from the Centre for Historical Analysis & Conflict Research and Senior Lecturer Bill Park from the University of London.

The British Foreign Office also submitted their views noting that the two nations “enjoy a strong, respectful bilateral relationship” and that “foreign and security policy collaboration between the UK and Turkey is vital to the stability of Europe and the Middle East. Turkey’s role in tackling the migration crisis has been extraordinarily important, with continued engagement with the UK and European partners vital”.

Daniel Kaczynski, a deputy and also a member of Foreign Affairs Select Committee, sent a tweet before the session stating that the committee would discuss the fight against Daesh, the coup bid, and the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

TRTWorld and agencies