Britain eyes doubled trade volume with Turkey over next five years
Before wrapping up his two-day landmark official visit to Turkey yesterday, British Prime Minister David Cameron addressed Turkish businesspeople at the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) in Ankara. Stating that his visit, coming just three months after he took office, was aimed at establishing a new partnership between Turkey and his country, Cameron said, "This is a vital strategic relationship for Britain. Turkey is vital for our economy, vital for our security and vital for our politics and our diplomacy." On the economic importance of Turkey for Britain, Cameron said he asked himself which European country grew at 11% at the start of this year, which will be the world's second-fastest growing economy by 2017, which has more young people than any of the 27 European Union countries, which is the number one manufacturer of TVs and is second only to China in the world in construction and in contracting, and responded in Turkish, "Tabii ki Turkiye" – of course Turkey. Referring to the acronym for the fast-growing emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, Cameron said Turkey is Europe's BRIC. Stating that he wants to see the current British-Turkish trade volume of $14 billion double over the next five years, Cameron said, "We cannot let the protectionists win." On the security aspect of Turkey's vitality for Britain and Europe, Cameron said Turkey, as a great NATO ally, shares their determination to fight terrorism in all its forms, pledging that Britain will continue to stand by Turkey in its fight against the terrorist PKK. "You are not just a great ally; the fact is that Turkey's unique position at the meeting point of East and West gives you an unrivalled influence in helping us to get to grips with some of the greatest threats to our collective security," he said. "Whether in Afghanistan or in the Middle East, Turkey has a credibility that others in the West just cannot hope to have. So I have come here today to make the case for Turkey to use this credibility, to go further in enhancing our security and working for peace across our world." Voicing strong uneasiness over Turkey's stalled EU accession process mainly due to hurdles erected by some member countries, Cameron said, "When I think about what Turkey has done to defend Europe as a NATO ally and what Turkey is doing today in Afghanistan alongside our European allies, it makes me angry that your progress towards EU membership can be frustrated in the way that it has been. My view is clear: I believe it is just wrong to say that Turkey can guard the camp but not be allowed to sit in the tent." Stressing that he will remain a fierce advocate for Turkey's EU membership and for greater influence at the top table of European diplomacy, Cameron said, "This is something I feel very strongly and very passionately about. Together I want us to pave the road from Ankara to Brussels." Branding anti-Turkey arguments from the protectionist, polarized and prejudiced across Europe as "plain wrong," Cameron said, "I want us to be at the forefront of the international effort to defeat these arguments."