Britain Seals £100m Defence Development Deal with Turkey despite Human Rights Record


British Prime Minister Theresa May and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed a £100m defence deal which will see Britain continue with the development of the Turkish Fighter Programme (TF-X).

She is the first western leader to meet Erdogan since the failed coup against him last year.  The pair met in the Turkish capital Ankara.

The deal has sparked some controversy as human rights issues have come to the forefront following the coup.  The country is in a state of emergency and hundreds of arrests of public officials including judges, academics, and teachers from their jobs have been carried out and media outlets closed.

Human Rights

Amnesty International’s UK director Kate Allen said the human rights situation in Turkey has gotten considerably worse since the coup and Theresa May should take the opportunity to press the Turkish leader over the issue.

It is believed excessive force and ill – treatment of detainees is commonplace.

At the presidential palace, however, there was no real mention of human rights in relation to detainees.  She said, “Turkey is one of the UK’s oldest friends, our relations stretch back over 400 years but there is much that we can do in the future to build on that relationship together.

“I’m proud the UK stood with you on July 15 last year in defence of your democracy. Now it’s important that Turkey sustains that democracy by maintaining the rule of law and upholding its international human rights obligations, as the government has undertaken to do.”

Hundreds of British Jobs

The deal between UK-based BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries will secure high-skilled jobs in what could be a multibillion-pound contract.  This would include BAE supplying radar and sensor systems, weapons, and engines to Turkey.

At the meeting which overran by an hour, it is believed the two leaders discussed trade once Britain leaves the EU.


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