UK minister sets off for 2-day visit to Turkey

Britain’s Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, Alan Duncan, will set off for Turkey on Tuesday on a two-day official visit.

“I’m delighted to travel to Turkey on my fifth official visit. Turkey is an indispensable partner for the UK. Our cooperation across security, trade and science is hugely beneficial to both our countries,” Duncan said in a statement which appeared on the UK government’s website.

“As a close friend, the UK stands ready to support Turkey in its endeavours to protect democracy,” Duncan added.

According to the statement, Duncan will travel to Ankara and Istanbul to meet government officials, Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) members, journalists and civil society representatives.

Duncan, the minister of state for Europe, was the first overseas official to visit Turkey, four days after the defeated coup attempt last year.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency early this year, he said that most of the European governments were very slow to denounce the undemocratic move of the putschists.

“I think the rest of Europe was very slow to appreciate that this was a deep, traumatic experience for the whole country and that it was wrong.”

“I think instead of sitting in a comfortable armchair, lecturing Turkey, it is better to understand what they are up against and work with the country to make sure that they could be stable, democratic and [a] very powerful and important force in the region,” Duncan said.