Minister for Europe makes fifth official visit to Turkey

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(By Dr Shahid Qureshi): –    Sir Alan Duncan’s visit on 15 to 17 August will support democracy and focus on increased UK-Turkey co-operation, particularly in science.

A year on from the coup attempt, Minister for Europe, Sir Alan Duncan will travel to Ankara and Istanbul to show his support for Turkish democracy and continued UK-Turkish co-operation. Sir Alan will meet the Turkish government, main opposition party (CHP), journalists and NGOs, to hear firsthand about the current situation in Turkey.

While Minister Duncan is in Turkey, he will meet members of a human rights organisation that the UK has funded to help Syrian children gain better access to education.

The Minister will also focus on the UK’s co-operation with Turkey on science and technology. The UK is proud to support the Newton Fund, which is now the largest bilateral scientific co-operation programme in Turkey. Its budget of around £4 million supports over 170 different projects, in various areas including energy, economics, aerospace and disaster management, making the most of UK expertise in these areas. While in Istanbul, the Minister will visit the Istanbul Technical University, a key partner for this work.

Ahead of his trip Sir Alan Duncan said:

I’m delighted to travel to Turkey on my fifth official visit. Turkey is an indispensable partner for the UK. Our co-operation across security, trade and science is hugely beneficial to both our countries.

I once again condemn the terrible affront on Turkish democracy during the coup attempt last year. Turkey now needs to show its citizens and the world that things are returning to normality. It’s crucial that Turkey protects the space for civil society and a free press to operate. As a close friend, the UK stands ready to support Turkey in its endeavours to protect democracy.

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