The UK’s aversion to “megaphone diplomacy” is why Theresa May made little public mention of concerns about Turkey’s human rights record during the visit, David Burrowes said.
The UK Prime Minister made a whistle-stop tour of Ankara last month on the back of her meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington.
She spoke warmly of supporting Turkey as it combatted repeated terrorist attacks and emphasised Britain’s solidarity with the country in the wake of last year’s coup attempt.
But Mrs May’s trade-heavy visit struck a different tone to that a few days later of German chancellor Angela Merkel, who publicly said she was concerned about political freedoms in Turkey.
Mr Burrowes told Haber that Mrs May and Ms Merkel’s visits had different objectives.
“Theresa May emphasised the importance of the rule of law. I don’t think both Theresa May and the British Foreign Office necessarily goes in for megaphone democracy. But it doesn’t in any way compromise its commitment to human rights, the rule of law and democracy.
“That can be communicated in lots of ways.”
He said the prime focus of the visit of Angela Merkel was not about trade because, as an ongoing European Union member, Germany cannot negotiate its own trade deals.
But Mrs May did urge Turkey during the visit to “uphold its international human rights obligations”, Mr Burrowes added.