A delegation of the British parliament consisting of David Amess, Mark Menzies, David Morris and Sheryll Murray has come to Turkey at the invitation of Yunus Emre Institute to make observations on the work Turkey conducts targeting Syrian refugees in Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Ankara and Istanbul, conduct preliminary talks for boosting the trade volume between Turkey and the United Kingdom and pave the way for strengthening the deep and profound relations between the two countries.
First destination: Gaziantep
The first destination of the delegation in Turkey was Gaziantep. As part of the visit, the British MPs met with Gaziantep Governor Davut Gül and Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin.
During the bilateral talks, Governor Gül commented on Turkey's Syria policy, its work targeting the refugees and the efforts to increase the trade volume between the two countries in the post-Brexit era, stressing the Turkey and the UK are capable of improving their already deep-rooted relations within the context of collective cooperation. During the meeting, concrete decisions were taken regarding commercial ties for import and export transactions with Gaziantep Organized Industrial Zone.
During the delegation's meeting with Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin, it was emphasized that Gaziantep should be promoted in the UK and the commercial ties should be improved and cultural elements such as gastronomy tourism should be advertised and the activities of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality targeting the Syrian refugees should be promoted for the British public.
In addition, David Amess, who has been serving as a Member of Parliament for Southend for 38 years, suggest that Gaziantep and Southend should be announced as sister cities in 2020, and his proposal was accepted. It was noted that this move would serve to increase cultural and economic ties between the two countries as well as between the two cities.
In addition, the delegation paid a visit to Ensar Community Center, established by Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, where they made observations regarding the educational, cultural, artistic and sports activities conducted for Syrian refugees and found the municipality's activities commendable. During the meeting, emphasis was placed on the need for promoting and appreciating the work Turkey conducts in this field in the international arena.
The delegation had a chance to visit Zeugma Mosaic Museum, which an important cultural asset for Turkey and contain important mosaics.
British delegation sees Göbeklitepe
On the second day of its Turkey program, the British delegation went to Şanlıurfa. The British MPs first visited Governor Abdullah Erin, discussing with him a number of matters including the refugee problem, bilateral relations and cultural ties.
The delegation also had a chance to visit the excavation site of Göbeklitepe, referred to as the humanity's oldest temple and the zero point of history, as part of the Year of Göbeklitepe, declared by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Visiting Göbeklitepe, which was opened to tourism thanks to efforts by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Doğuş Group, the British MPs pointed out that Turkey undertook an important mission by making Göbeklitepe part of the world heritage list. At the end of their visit to the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) region, the delegation had a sightseeing touring around the city, visiting Balıklıgöl.
The last destination of the official visits: Ankara
The British delegation flew to Ankara as part of its official visit. The delegation discussed bilateral cooperation venues with Deputy Minister of National Defense Şuay Alpay before meeting British Ambassador Dominick Chilcott. During the meeting, it was noted that the bilateral relations between Turkey and the UK will increase in the post-Brexit era, and the Embassy is ready to lend support.
Then, Yunus Emre Institute President Prof. Dr. Şeref Ateş accompanied the British MPs as they visited Minister of Health of the Republic of Turkey Fahrettin Koca. Minister Koca indicated that Turkey and the UK have good relations in the field of healthcare and a new protocol will be undersigned in November. Thanking Minister Koca for his invitation, MP David Amess noted that the UK may implement a program for sharing its expertise in healthcare with Turkey.
The delegation also a paid a visit to the newly-opened Ankara City Hospital, where they were briefed by Head Physician and the Ministry's officials.