Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the Solidarity Platform of the Turkish Community in the United Kingdom

  1.  The Solidarity Platform of the Turkish Community in the UK represents 200,000 Turkish people in Britain. We are in the process of become a registered organisation after which we aim to be a more proactive organisation to promote the Turkish culture and identity in the UK.

  2.  We have become aware that the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons has been undertaking an inquiry into the United Kingdom's relations with Turkey.

  3.  We believe that the presence of such a large number and of various background and profession of Turkish people in the United Kingdom, undoubtedly contributes to the British economy and the diversity of the British culture. Furthermore, this presence enhances positive and constructive links between geographically the easternmost and westernmost frontiers of modern-day Europe. We also believe that the diversity in a country—as it is in the UK and Turkey—is richness. EU will also benefit from the cultural and religious diversity that would be introduced by the full membership of Turkey to the EU. We hope the United Kingdom's invaluable positive contribution would be boosted by your report so that enrichment in the diversity in the EU could be enriched soon.

  4.  The Turkish Community in the United Kingdom is becoming more and more integrated and intertwined to the British society despite the fact that certain levels of misconception about Turkey are still kept alive by various groups. These groups have been using the British system to their advantage in order to destabilise Anglo-Turkish relations considering both Turkey and the Turkish Community in the UK. Hence, for further development of Anglo-Turkish relations these misconceptions should be rectified and we believe that the Foreign Affairs Committee at the House of Commons would play an important role to accomplish the above mentioned rectification by producing such a timely report.

  5.  Having been a secular democratic Muslim country and having aimed at the contemporary Western World since before the proclamation of the modern Turkish Republic in 1923, despite certain shortfalls, Turkey has ever been as a unique example of a contemporary democratic country in the Muslim World. The importance of such a secular stand in a Muslim world received well deserved public attention unfortunately after the recent tragic events of 11 September 2001. This is another clear indication of lack of knowledge and misconceptions about Turkey and Turkish people.

  6.  We are quite aware of the certain economical, social and political shortfalls in Turkey which are always exaggerated and selectively taken out of the content to mislead the public. We are also aware of the tremendous will power in Turkish people to overcome these shortfalls. The recent accelerated legislative momentum to tackle these issues reflects the dedication of both the society and the government in Turkey. Preparing Turkey for EU membership, as a concrete target, definitely contributes to the movement as a driving force. However, the lack of similar will power from EU, with which we can perform better, is an important issue to be resolved. We hope that the United Kingdom will continue its constructive efforts to establish stronger and genuine links between Turkey and the EU towards Turkey's full membership to the EU.

  United Kingdom Council of Turkish Students' Societies on behalf of the Solidarity Platform of the Turkish Community in the United Kingdom

January 2002

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