Turkey, UK likely to come closer after Brexit

Turkey, UK likely to come closer after Brexit

It’s crystal clear that the results of the general elections in the U.K. will have drastic consequences and reflections beyond the country, and particularly in Europe.

First of all, the results in the U.K. are in line with the recent trends in the rest of the world where populist leaders are on an unstoppable rise.

The landslide Conservative victory in the face of a historic setback for the Labour Party also tells about British politics and changing sociology. It seems to be hard for Labour to reverse the conservative trend in the coming period unless they adjust their policies under a new leadership.

Second is about Brexit. The landslide victory of Boris Johnson that pledges him a comfortable majority at the House of Commons means that the two-time postponed Brexit will be done on Jan. 31, 2020.

The post-Brexit, however, will have multi-dimensional challenges for Johnson’s government. Having increased its representation at the Westminster nearly four times, the Scottish National Party (NSP) will press on Johnson for another independence referendum.

The British prime minister will also have to address the concerns and potential damages of the British businesses while he should get ready for tough negotiations with the EU for the future of the Brussels-London relationship.

For British authorities, Brexit will not change the role and weight of the U.K. on the global scene. It’s still one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, a nuclear power with a strong military power at NATO, they say. However, many experts suggest that both the U.K. and the EU will be weakened because of Brexit.

A further alignment with Washington is inevitable for London but many urge Johnson about the nature of this new partnership. London will continue to revive the Commonwealth and seek new alliances in the different corners of the world.

Turkey will be one of these new allies for the U.K. in the post-Brexit era. Already enjoying good ties and a sound dialogue, these two non-EU countries on the northeastern and southeastern corners of the European continent would create a new political framework.

Equally important is the fact that Turkey and the U.K. should prioritize how to continue trading and business investments in the post-Brexit era. There were some unofficial talks for expanding the scope of the bilateral trade and for dealing with the problems of Turks in the U.K. and Brits in Turkey in the same post-Brexit period.

But beyond these bilateral matters, the post-Brexit significantly corresponds to a period in which both Ankara and London are now looking at how to formulate their ties with Europe under the changing conditions. Brexit will increase the powers of France and Germany as two prominent European powers and will start a new period for the EU. It’s questionable to what extend this new period would result in reconciliation between Ankara and Brussels.

Therefore, in a much more complicated environment in Europe, both Turkey and the U.K. would be more eye-to-eye on many regional and security-related issues. A new four-way format which brings Turkey and the U.K. with France and Germany to discuss Syria and other regional conflicts could be highlighted under this title.

Leaders from four countries will meet in Istanbul in February 2020 and that will potentially be one of the first international meetings where Boris Johnson will attend after Brexit will be done on Jan. 31.

As seen, historic elections in the U.K. have already secured the Brexit with still a lot of lingering questions. From the Turkish perspective, it would be good to align with London on many issues, but it should never give the impression that it fully abandons the accession process to the EU. Turkey should continue to regard Europe as a whole and EU membership as its main strategic target.