President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is visiting the U.K. on a three-day trip to meet with British officials. He brought up that the U.K. is Ankara’s second largest export target and Erdogan hopes to improve relations between the two nations in the future. During a public speech in the U.K., President Erdogan said,
The United Kingdom is the second largest export market for us in Europe. Our total business volume [with the U.K.] is over $16 billion. We will continue to work together to increase it to $20 billion.”
Prior to his departure for the U.K., President Erdogan told local media that Turkey “pays special attention to cooperating with the United Kingdom.” There are planned developments underway for Turkish Aerospace Industries in the field of a “5th generation” fighter plane that would be designed in conjunction with Rolls-Royce, who would design and construct the jet’s engine. Quwa Defence & Analysis Group stated earlier this year that their research indicates the program would “put the TFX’s all-inclusive (flyaway plus long-term maintenance) cost at $280 million a unit.”
Erdogan echoed in London that, “The steps we have taken in terms of the fight against terrorism, we have secured Europe and the whole world.” He also pressured expatriated Turkish nationals living in the U.K. to take part in the Turkish elections scheduled to be held June 24. He stressed that doing so will preserve “the 16-year period democracy” should he be reelected, in reference to the Turkish presidential election. He also said that those “achievements” would perish should he be replaced. Erdogan added that, “I wish your votes and those of your family and friends will be in favor of a big and powerful Turkey.”
As President Erdogan traveled to the event, his motorcade met a large crowd of protesters that attempted to block their path. Many of the protesters held up photos of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the PKK and currently imprisoned in Turkey, along with YPG flags. They held up large pictures of Erdogan with the word “terrorist” across them as they chanted, “Fascist, terrorist, thief, and murderer Erdogan.”
U.K. police did their best to control protesters and later tweeted,
We facilitated a protest by pro-Kurdish groups at a location outside Reading today. Some of the protesters attempted to block the passage of vehicles. Police tactics were deployed to protect the protesters and keep the road clear for vehicles.
— Thames Valley Police (@ThamesVP) May 13, 2018
The Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign responded by tweeting,
BREAKING: Kurdish activists blocked the Presidential convoy of Turkish fascist Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Reading, UK. Protesters were beaten by police. Ambulance being called pic.twitter.com/AcVs5MV9D5
— Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign (@KurdsCampaign) May 13, 2018
Featured image courtesy of kremlin.ru [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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