Turkey, despite being a NATO member has not fallen into line with its policies in the Middle East and has repeatedly clashed with Brussels over migration policies. May will be hoping to curry favour with Erdogan at a time when post Brexit trade deals and Middle Eastern stability are of key interest. Sputnik spoke with Dr. Ali Bilgic, Lecturer in International relations at Loughborough University for more insights into the issue.
Sputnik: How good are Turkey-UK relations currently?
Dr. Ali Bilgic: The relations are pretty good, particularly economically as last year Theresa May signed a defence and trade agreement with Turkey. On the other hand, Turkey is in a difficult position as it also thrives from Russian investment and Turkey was hit by a crisis when Russian tourism decreased.
Turkey now cooperates with Russia in Syria more than with the UK, so I’m not sure how Turkey would position itself if it chose an alliance.
Sputnik: Are there tensions between Turkey and NATO?
Dr. Ali Bilgic: There are many thorny issues; Turkey did not let German diplomats visit a military base and believes that NATO allies did not sufficiently support Turkey during the summer 2016 coup attempt.
Another problem is that NATO did not support Turkish military actions in Northern Syria and the US has criticised Turkey’s decision to buy missiles from Russia, which has increased tensions between the NATO members.
Sputnik: Is Erdogan likely to be re-elected in the upcoming general election?
Dr. Ali Bilgic: The opposition have a lot of support within the electorate, although the elections will probably not be decided in the first round and there will be a second round of elections.
In the second round anything is possible, what is certain is that because of the new alliance laws, many new parties will be represented in parliament than beforehand, so there will be a pluralist parliament and it is certain that there will be a new political climate in Turkey, after the election.
The views and opinions of Dr. Ali Bilgic are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.