Tur­key, UK im­prove safety, pros­per­ity by co­op­er­a­tion: UK home sec­re­tary

Se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion in ar­eas of coun­tert­er­ror­ism and or­ga­nized crime help keep both Tur­key and the U.K. safer, U.K. Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd said

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

BRI­TISH Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd, in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with Daily Sabah, high­lighted the sig­nif­i­cance of bi­lat­eral ties be­tween the U.K. and Tur­key, say­ing that strong re­la­tions help keep both coun­tries safer and more pros­per­ous. She added that the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries goes be­yond coun­tert­er­ror­ism and ad­dresses or­ga­nized crime and il­le­gal mi­gra­tion. Com­ment­ing on the July 15 coup at­tempt per­pe­trated by the Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ), Rudd said any at­tempts to take over the govern­ment through non-demo­cratic means was not ac­cept­able for the U.K.

In An in­ter­view with Daily Sabah, United King­dom Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd high­lighted the sig­nif­i­cance of bi­lat­eral ties be­tween the U.K. and Tur­key, say­ing that strong re­la­tions help both coun­tries to be safer and more pros­per­ous.

Rudd also un­der­scored that both coun­tries’ co­op­er­a­tion in se­cu­rity goes be­yond coun­tert­er­ror­ism, as they also part­ner against or­ga­nized crime and il­le­gal mi­gra­tion. Com­ment­ing on the July 15 coup at­tempt by the Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ), she added that any at­tempts to take over the govern­ment through non-demo­cratic means is not ac­cept­able for the U.K.

How can we fur­ther im­prove the ex­ist­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween UK and Tur­key in the fight against ter­ror­ism and se­cu­rity?

Our re­la­tion­ship with Tur­key has al­ways been im­por­tant, but it is ar­guably even more vi­tal to­day. Tur­key sits on the front­line of some of the most dif­fi­cult and se­ri­ous chal­lenges we both face. Our part­ner­ship helps keep both our coun­tries safer and more pros­per­ous. That is why the prime min­is­ter’s visit in Jan­uary es­tab­lished a strate­gic se­cu­rity part­ner­ship and a pro­gram of shared col­lab­o­ra­tion and in­for­ma­tion ex­change. I look for­ward to dis­cussing how we can con­tinue to build on this when I meet with the in­te­rior min­is­ter.

Our se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion goes be­yond ter­ror­ism, and we en­joy a close work­ing re­la­tion­ship on a broader range of is­sues, in­clud­ing on or­ga­nized crime. For ex­am­ple Tur­key pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant re­sources on com­bat­ing il­le­gal mi­gra­tion from Tur­key into the EU, in­clud­ing by tack­ling or­ga­nized im­mi­gra­tion crime, ap­pre­hend­ing drug smug­gling rings and tack­ling is­sues such as ex­ploita­tion of chil­dren.

How do you eval­u­ate Tur­key’s fight against ter­ror or­ga­ni­za­tions PKK and daesh? do you think it is fair and con­sis­tent to sup­port one ter­ror­ist group (the PKK and its syria ex­ten­sion PYD) to com­bat an­other ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion (daesh)?

First and fore­most Tur­key does a huge amount to dis­rupt the threat posed to both our coun­tries by ter­ror­ists, in­clud­ing for­eign fighters leav­ing Syria. Tur­key also makes an in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to the in­ter­na­tional cam­paign against Daesh as a mem­ber of the Global Coali­tion, and we wel­come that sup­port. We ab­so­lutely con­demn the PKK at­tacks, as we con­demn all ter­ror­ism. Our thoughts are with the vic­tims of th­ese at­tacks, as with all the hor­rific at­tacks we have wit­nessed re­cently.

The UK was one of the coun­tries that ex­tended sup­port to Tur­key af­ter the coup at­tempt. Your at­ti­tude on this is­sue is very clear when com­pared to other Euro­pean coun­tries. Why is that?

We're clear that any at­tempt to seize power through non-demo­cratic means and vi­o­lence is un­ac­cept­able. It is now im­por­tant that Tur­key en­sures that the long term re­sponse to the chal­lenges it faces, in­clud­ing the on-go­ing ter­ror­ist chal­lenge, is law­ful, mea­sured and demo­cratic and in line with Tur­key’s in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights obli­ga­tions.

How would you re­act if a ter­ror or­ga­ni­za­tion killed 250 bri­tish cit­i­zens and at­tacked the UK Par­lia­ment? What would you like to say about the FETO ter­ror­ist fugi­tives in the UK that have al­legedly taken part in the coup at­tempt?

We rec­og­nize how se­ri­ously the Turk­ish govern­ment takes the Gülen move­ment. Where there is ev­i­dence of crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing by an in­di­vid­ual in the UK or through the UK, we will take ac­tion.

Tur­key opened its doors to 3.5 mil­lion syr­ian civil­ians, and to date has spent $30 bil­lion.

When taken into con­sid­er­a­tion the role of Tur­key in block­ing the flow of asy­lum seek­ers to Euro­pean coun­tries, do you be­lieve that the Euro­pean coun­tries are do­ing their part, and keep­ing their prom­ises?

I rec­og­nize the huge con­tri­bu­tion Tur­key has made to refugees in the re­gion, pro­vid­ing pro­tec­tion to the most vul­ner­a­ble. Tur­key is pro­vid­ing ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, health and work op­por­tu­ni­ties to thou­sands of Syr­ian chil­dren and their fam­i­lies.

The UK for its part has con­trib­uted 328 mil­lion eu­ros – in ad­di­tion to our con­tri­bu­tion via the EU bud­get – to the Fa­cil­ity for Refugees in Tur­key to sup­port Tur­key in deal­ing with this enor­mous chal­lenge. We have also worked with the ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­in­force Tur­key’s asy­lum sys­tem.

Joint work­ing be­tween Europe and Tur­key has suc­cess­fully re­duced the num­ber of deaths at sea and dis­rupted the busi­ness model of smug­glers and traf­fick­ers in the re­gion. It is im­por­tant that the EU-Tur­key State­ment is de­liv­ered on both sides to en­sure its ben­e­fits are fully re­al­ized.

You have EU ex­pe­ri­ence; what would you like to say about the EU mak­ing Tur­key wait at its door for long years? And do you be­lieve that EU’s ap­proach to Tur­key con­tra­dicts its found­ing prin­ci­ples?

We re­main of the view that the EU ac­ces­sion process sup­ports se­cu­rity, sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity in Tur­key. We will con­tinue to sup­port coun­tries com­mit­ted to the ac­ces­sion process in meet­ing the nec­es­sary re­quire­ments. As and when can­di­date coun­tries have met the re­quire­ments for ac­ces­sion in full, it will be for those coun­tries and Euro­pean Union mem­bers at the time to de­cide on mem­ber­ship.

do you be­lieve that the rhetoric of the politi­cians and rul­ing party lead­ers have an im­pact on the rise of is­lama­pho­bia in Europe? What are your rec­om­men­da­tions in the fight against Is­lama­pho­bia (which is an is­sue of­ten raised by Pres­i­dent Er­doğan)?

I have been clear that is­lam­o­pho­bia – and in­deed racism of any kind – has no place in so­ci­ety. Hate crime, di­rected against any com­mu­nity, race or religion, has ab­so­lutely no place in our so­ci­ety, and the scale of hate crime re­mains a se­ri­ous con­cern.

Europe has come a long way in re­cent years. But there re­main wor­ry­ing ex­am­ples of the kinds of at­ti­tudes that should be con­signed to the his­tory books. As a govern­ment, we are com­mit­ted to work­ing with ev­ery­one who is stand­ing up against big­otry and in­tol­er­ance in their com­mu­ni­ties; we’re sup­port­ing the pub­lic sec­tor and civil so­ci­ety to con­front those who spread dam­ag­ing views that run con­trary to our shared val­ues; and we’re sup­port­ing ef­forts to im­prove com­mu­nity co­he­sion.

What is the rea­son for more brits vis­it­ing Tur­key this year com­pared to last year? do you think there are any se­cu­rity con­cerns for brits hol­i­day­ing in Tur­key?

It is good news that more Brits are vis­it­ing com­pared with last year. Tur­key is an in­cred­i­ble coun­try with so much to of­fer a visi­tor. It is no sur­prise that Bri­tish na­tion­als made over 1.7 mil­lion vis­its to Tur­key in 2016. As the coun­try re­turns to nor­mal­ity, I hope to see this in­crease.

Home Sec­re­tary Rudd said that ties be­tween Ankara and Lon­don have al­ways been im­por­tant, but they are even more vi­tal to­day.

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