Turkish minister visits Portsmouth as defence chiefs thrash out plan to beat ISIS terrorists
BRITAIN and Turkey’s top defence ministers have thrashed out plans to combat jihardist terrorists during a ‘round table’ event on board aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace invited his opposite number from Turkey, defence minister Hulusi Akar aboard the £3.2bn warship as part of a two-day trip to the UK by the foreign diplomat.
The Ministry of Defence said Mr Akar’s visit had helped to ‘reaffirm’ the two countries’ ‘close co-operation on defence and security as Nato allies'.
And top of the agenda included how both the UK and Turkey could continue to work together to defeat extremists from the so-called Islamic State terror group – branded ‘Daesh’ by the government.
The last major Daesh attack to take place in Turkey occurred on January 1, 2017, when extremists assaulted the Reina nightclub in Ortakoy, Istanbul, killing 39 people and wounding 69 others.
Meanwhile, Turkey is seen as a gateway for terrorists across Europe seeking to enter Syria.
Mr Wallace said: ‘Turkey is an important Nato ally and partner for the UK in upholding security in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.
‘I was delighted to welcome Minister Akar to the UK for fruitful discussions on how our nations can build on our strong defence relationship in a range of areas – from NATO exercises and operations to industry co-operation.’
Minister Akar was welcomed to the UK with a guard of honour from the Coldstream Guards at Horse Guards Parade, ahead of a bilateral meeting at the MoD HQ in London.
While on board HMS Prince of Wales, at Portsmouth Naval Base, the Turkish minister was shown the ‘significant maritime capabilities the UK can offer towards upholding international security’.
Mr Akar also had the opportunity to meet with a number of key players in the British defence industry.
The trip comes as Prince of Wales’s sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, prepares for her first operational deployment next month.
The mission, expected to last more than six months, will see the 65,000-tonne Royal Navy flagship sailing to the Mediterranean before heading to the Gulf and then the Indo-Pacific.
She lead ‘Europe’s most powerful’ naval task group, made up of two Type 45 destroyers from Portsmouth, HMS Diamond and Defender, alongside frigates HMS Richmond and HMS Kent.
Support tankers RFA Tidespring and RFA Fort Victoria will accompany the task group, along with US Navy destroyer USS The Sullivans, and Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen.
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