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Ankara

Volume 951: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1978

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Q2.

asked the Prime Minister when he next intends to visit Ankara.

If my right hon. Friend sees Mr Ecevit in the near future, will he tell him that although we welcome the new co-operation agreement between Europe and Turkey and sympathise with Turkey's economic difficulties, the present Government take human rights very seriously, particularly the machinery of the European Convention on Human Rights?

What action will British Ministers take in Strasbourg when this matter is next considered? Is my right hon. Friend aware that if the complaints against Turkey about violations of human rights in Cyprus were got out of the way it would help Britain's reputation for a belief in human rights, in terms not just of complaints against Russia but of human rights throughout the world, and would assist a final settlement in Cyprus?

I know that my hon. Friend takes a deep interest in these matters. The question of human rights, which my hon. Friend raised in the debate on foreign affairs last week, is a matter for the Council of Europe to reach a conclusion upon. I gather it has failed to do so on the last two occasions on which it has considered the subject. I hope that it will reach a just conclusion on the next occasion when it considers the matter. British Ministers will endeavour to ensure that that is done. If so, that conclusion should be published. I agree with my hon. Friend that this matter should not be left hanging around.

If the Prime Minister has an opportunity to discuss these matters with the Turkish Government, will he explain to them that if they have either civil or military aircraft with Rolls-Royce engines requiring repair, the possibility of having those engines repaired will depend not on whether they pay the bill but on the view taken by the T and GWU—not the Foreign Office—of human rights?

No, Sir. I do not think that it will be necessary to explain that to the Turkish Government.

In view of world concern about human rights, and particularly in respect of the discussions taking place between the two great Powers—the United States and Russia—on the dangerous situation that still exists in Africa and the serious situation affecting the policy of detente, what is my right hon. Friend's view about the holding of a summit conference in the not-too-distant future?

As my hon. Friend knows, a conference of seven of the major industrial Powers is to take place, but I do not believe that we shall be discussing the question of Africa or detente. That conference will be concerned with the economic prospects of the Western world.

Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the richer NATO countries should extend more economic aid to Turkey and to Greece, particularly having regard to their key position in NATO and the fact that the Soviet Union is extending more and more economic aid to Turkey?

That matter could be looked into. When the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr. Ecevit, saw me, he asked whether we could assist in supplying arms because of the difficulties that Turkey is having with the United States Congress. I undertook to look into the matter, but so far no propositions have come forward that would be satisfactory.