HC Deb 14 November 1984 vol 67 cc669-70
5. Mr. Parry

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on current relations between Her Majesty's Government and Turkey.

Mr. Renton

Turkey is an important and valued NATO ally of the United Kingdom. We welcome the progress towards the return to full democracy made since the elections last November, but look forward to further steps in this direction.

Mr. Parry

Does the Minister not think it ironic that the American Government are making such a fuss over the elections in Nicaragua when we see Turkey, as a member of NATO and of the Council of Europe, still under martial law, repressing human rights and imprisoning trade unionists and peace campaigners? Will the Minister make clear to our Government, to the Turkish Government and to the United States Government the British people's repugnance at such double standards?

Mr. Renton

The hon. Gentleman complains of the slow progress towards democracy in Turkey, but he must recognise that in the local elections this March more parties took part than in the national elections last November and that 33 out of Turkey's 67 provinces will have had martial law lifted by 19 November. I understand and share his concern about human rights and about the trial of the trade unionists to which he referred, but he might like to know that my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary has had four discussions in the past 12 months with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Halefogln, at two of which the question of human rights was raised.

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