An important message to all our readers from our British Ambassador to Turkey, pictured left.

“This is a difficult time for people in Turkey, and I know we all feel great sympathy for those who have lost family, loved ones or friends as a result of PKK terrorist attacks – which the UK government has strongly condemned – and in the earthquake near Van. The Queen, The Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister have all sent messages of condolence. And we have sent over a thousand winterised tents to help people made homeless by the earthquake.

So it is nice to have some good news for all our British residents in Turkey.

You will be aware that last year we persuaded the Turkish government to reduce the price of residence permits, and many of you have been kind enough to tell me how welcome this has been.

That reduction was for a trial period. I am delighted to be able to let you know now that the Home Secretary signed an agreement with the Turkish government on a range of issues in Ankara last week. This included agreement that the reduced residence permit fee for UK citizens would be confirmed on a permanent basis, in balance with the overall cost of UK residence permits.

I am very grateful to the Turkish government for agreeing to this, and hope it will be a welcome early Christmas present to you all.

Between now and Christmas, as you may know, the President of Turkey will be making a State Visit to the UK at the invitation of The Queen. This symbolises how strong UK/Turkey relations now are. You may also be interested to know that the Turkish Minister of the Interior told the Home Secretary that Turkey welcomes and values the British communities here, and that you play an important and positive part in building relations between the two countries. So I must thank you for doing this.”

David Reddaway, British Ambassador to Turkey – October 2011

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