A similar document was signed at the time between Turkey and the United States, the two NATO allies which have been facing a troubled period in their bilateral relations. Problems have arisen between the two both due to Turkey’s intention to launch a military operation into northern Iraq in order to tackle the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases there and the recent approval of a resolution by a US House committee labeling World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians “genocide.” In July 2006 a “shared vision document” was unveiled by then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, now Turkish president, and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, which they said would boost what they described “the two nations’ strategic partnership.”
Britain has all along been a firm supporter of Turkey’s bid to become a full member of the European Union. It has also been a key ally of the US-led invasion of Iraq. This month, Brown announced plans to cut Britain’s troops in southern Iraq by more than half by next spring, to some 2,500, while unidentified officials have suggested all British forces could be out by the end of 2008.
Earlier this week, while warning that any Turkish incursion into Iraq would have “grave consequences” for the region, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih also said that British troops would be needed in the violence-scarred country “for some time to come.”
“We know that more British troops will withdraw from Basra, in large measure because there is confidence in the Iraqi forces in the Basra area to assume the lead in security management in the region. We still have challenges in Basra and I don’t want to underestimate the challenges ahead, but at the end of the day there has to be a point where Iraqi security services assume the lead. We can’t count on outsiders -- our friends -- forever. We definitely will need continued British support for some time to come,” Salih said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Prime Ministry also announced that, during his visit scheduled for Oct. 22-23, Erdoğan will also pay a visit to the British parliament where he will hold meetings with speakers of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
While in Britain Erdoğan will deliver a speech at the Oxford Union, a prestigious debating society, and will explain the Turkish foreign policy’s regional and global vision, goals and priorities.