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UK and Türkiye to Work More Closely on Stability and Security

Library image of British and Turkish soldiers deployed on a multinational training exercise in Poland [© Bob Morrison]

NATO Allies UK and Türkiye have agreed to work more closely together to help bring greater stability, security and prosperity to both nations.

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Press Release, Whitehall, 23 November 2023: Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps, today signed a Statement of Intent on defence co-operation, with his Turkish counterpart, Minister of National Defense, Yaşar Güler. This will provide the framework for closer working to deliver additional activities that will benefit the security and prosperity of both countries and, in so doing, enhancing national, regional and international security.

Following the signing, activity will see closer collaboration between both countries’ defence industries, the identification of possible joint training exercises in the Mediterranean, and the exploration of security support around North Africa and the Middle East.

As well as discussing the need for de-escalation in the Middle East, the Defence Secretary thanked his counterpart for utilising Türkiye’s influence as the gatekeeper to the Black Sea to enable the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain to nations who need it most. There was strong agreement on the need to keep focused on our collective support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s continuing aggression.

Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps said: “I was very pleased to meet my counterpart, Minister Güler, and to jointly agree to deepen the UK-Turkish defence relationship.

“Türkiye stands at the crossroads of three continents and, at a time of such global instability, their influence cannot be underestimated.

“The agreement we’ve signed will see our relationship go from strength-to-strength and enhance our nations’ defence and security co-operation.”

In his first face-to-face meeting with his Turkish opposite number, the Defence Secretary welcome the progress made on Sweden’s accession to NATO and hoped to see Turkish ratification through parliament as soon as possible. The signing of the agreement and bilateral meeting came following increased co-operation between the UK and Türkiye on defence matters over the preceding years.

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