Turkish professionals in UK warn against Brexit

Professionals speaks with British nationals of Turkish origin about their views on upcoming June 23 referendum in UK

Turkish professionals in UK warn against Brexit

World Bulletin / News Desk

Representatives of Turkish professionals in the U.K. warn against voting for the country to leave the EU, just two days before a historic referendum that will decide the future of the 28-nation bloc.

Erdal Koyuncu, a member of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK),  told Anadolu Agency that people should try to see the “bigger picture” in the debates over the referendum.

“If you do not decide selfishly and try to see the bigger picture, you see that staying in the European Union is the best choice, both for the country and for the Turkish nationals who live in the U.K.,” Koyuncu, who has lived in the U.K. for 15 years, said.  

He said it was “disturbing” that Turkey was in the center of the referendum debate. "Leave" campaigners have repeatedly used Turkey's EU accession process to instill fear among voters that such a move would supposedly invite millions of migrants into the bloc, especially to the U.K.

“If the country chooses to leave the EU, many agreements will be damaged and I worry that Ankara agreement, which grants Turkish nationals rights to establish a business in the U.K., may be among those under risk,” Koyuncu, said.

“Especially, after the latest attack on one of the members of the parliament, the Labour MP, Jo Cox, I worry that if we leave the union, we could also see an increase in populism, and rise in ‘far-right’ movements,” he added.

Ugur Yilmaz, director of the Turkish Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD) in Britain, also said the U.K. should remain a part of a “strong EU economy”.

“The United Kingdom already has ‘special’ membership and position within the EU and we should retain and utilize being part of a strong EU economy,” Yilmaz said.

“Considering Small and Medium-sized Enterprises [SMEs], I believe we should stay in the EU because we will be suffering from uncertainty and weakened GBP [British pound].”

Yilmaz, who has been living in the U.K. for more than 25 years, said if the country decided to leave the bloc, then international corporations could easily move out and change their operation base, but SMEs would suffer in short-to-medium term as they do not have any other option but to trade within the expected weakened British economy.

“We should retain and utilize being part of a strong EU economy. We should prefer certainty, strong economy, free trade and movement of workforce instead of uncertainty, weakened economy and possible subprime like crisis in the U.K.”

Dr. Ali Demirbag, director of the Association of Turkish Speaking Health Professionals in the U.K. (ITSEB), told Anadolu Agency that a possible Brexit would have “serious consequences” for the country and the world.

“It would be turning point from human rights cooperation [to] human-centered common projects to individual self-centered countries trying to prove themselves,” Demirbag, who has been living in the U.K. for 15 years, said.

“Basically world will be in square one where EU has been set up in order to solve problems avoid war [and] develop the civilization. Leaving from it undermine and undo everything [we] have done over the years,” he said.

“All reasons, the "Leave" campaigners have raised, can be solved in the EU,” he added. 

Voters across the U.K. go to the polls to decide on the future of their country’s EU membership on Thursday. 

Opinion polls over the weekend showed a slight swing back to the Remain camp after the Leave campaign took the lead early last week.

Last Mod: 21 Haziran 2016, 14:00
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