(AA) – British Ambassador to Turkey Richard Moore said Wednesday that Turkey-U.K. partnership meant that “Turkey likes to go with a winner.”
That’s why collaboration with Turkey on defense projects should increase.
In an interview with The Anadolu Agency, Moore said: “BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and a number of other companies are already actively working with Turkish companies. We are trying to help the Turkish defense sector develop its own capabilities, and we are working in third countries together. But there is a huge potential for us to do more.”
In May 2014, Turkish defense firms Aselsan signed a collaboration deal with Rolls-Royce for engine control systems.
“The UK has great strength in defense industries. Most of the companies I visit now in Turkey, they started about around 1990 to 1993. Yet now many of them are world-class companies. So it has changed a lot. And of course like any country that has been developing rapidly, now it has to go to the next stage. And for the next stage critical requirements are investments, education, structural reforms, making sure that issues like rule of law and good legislation are in place. Because then the foreign investors have confidence to come to Turkey, local investors have confidence to put their money into more investments. So that is the next phase,” Moore said.
“In the U.K., we have really perfected the connection between the universities, science and business, turning invention in the university into real business ideas than can be exploited. And there is great interest for all of that in Turkey. So we have got that great tradition in the U.K. When you look at Turkey with its fantastically young population and growing economy, it’s clear that we can put the two together I think we will get some very exciting results,” said Moore.
“I first came here in 1990 and it was a very different country. It was just about the beginning of the period that Turgut Ozal began the opening of Turkish economy to the outside world. But it was still very early stage. What I can see coming back is of course you can see the science in the extraordinary infrastructure, the roads the bridges, hospitals, all the building going on. I went down to Gaziantep a couple of times. Gaziantep in 1990 was a quiet provincial rather dusty town. Now it is a booming metropolis. So you can see all that happened. And it is very positive.”
But, for Turkey to escape the middle-income trap, further steps must be taken, Moore explained.
“If you want to escape that middle income trap, you need to concentrate on education, science and innovation. Because if you unleashed that along with the freedom of thought and ability to innovate, if you get that together, then Turkey I think will succeed and become the fantastic successful economy that it wants to be,” Moore said.
Turkey and U.K. have launched the 2015 U.K.-Turkey Year of Science and Innovation on Monday, aimed to boost further the bilateral partnership and extend the long scientific cooperation between the U.K. and Turkey.
Moore said that the U.K. offers many opportunities for Turkish partnership.
“I think Turkey likes to go with a winner. And at the moment, the U.K. is the fastest growing economy in the Europe. We have stayed out of the Eurozone. We have a free market and an open economy. And it seems to me that is the sort of partner Turkey wants.”
On March 18, Moore shared a message via Twitter on the 100th anniversary of March 18, 1915 of Canakkale Naval Victory Day — the battle which marked a turnaround in favor of the Turks against the Allied Forces during World War I.
He said that “Canakkale is impassable.” The British ambassador tweeted the Turkish-language phrase, adding: “All the parties fought bravely but it was the Turks who won the deserved victory.”
Moore commented: “It [his Twitter message] got an overwhelmingly positive reaction, which is very nice. We, who are now very firm and close allies, as well as NATO allies, should always remember the lessons of that war. Things change, and we should respect the past, but live in the present.”