The Scottish Government must review procurement guidelines to ensure firms in “human rights abusing regimes”, such as Turkey, are not awarded future public contracts, according to an opposition MSP.

Four ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne are currently being constructed by the Cemre Marin Endustri yard in northern Turkey - despite the country being ranked amongst the 10 worst countries in the world for workers’ rights every year since 2016.

The call from Labour MSP Katy Clark comes after First Minister Humza Yousaf was criticised for inviting the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Scotland on any future visit to the UK.

Erdogan’s authoritarian administration has been accused by the Trades Union Congress and Amnesty International of clamping down on democratic freedoms and workers’ rights.

The Scottish Government’s Fair Work guidelines for procurement indicate that “suppliers delivering public contracts” should “adopt and demonstrate appropriate fair work practices, for all workers engaged in delivering the public contract”.

Ms Clark, a former North Ayrshire MP who now represents the West Scotland region at Holyrood, said: “Human rights organisations have criticised the Scottish Government for cosying up to Turkey, led by Erdogan’s human rights abusing regime, but the award of public contracts to firms in the country is even more disturbing.

“The Scottish Government frequently vaunts its fair work credentials, with procurement guidelines insisting on forums for workers to express grievances, yet it continues to outsource contracts for lifeline ferries to a country where trade unions must organise under a climate of fear.

“After years of failing to replenish our ageing ferries fleet, it is not surprising the Scottish Government rushed to commission Cemre Marin Endustri. Islanders urgently need new vessels, but this reinforces the need for a serious strategy to rebuild shipbuilding capacity here in Scotland.

“It is past time that a review into these procurement guidelines was launched. Scottish taxpayers’ money should not be used to boost the economies of nations which flout internationally recognised human rights laws.

"It is time to make procurement choices which are more ethical, sensible and sustainable.”

Speaking to reporters at Holyrood on January 18, Mr Yousaf said: "I said the next time he's in the United Kingdom why not come up to Scotland."

He added: "Why on earth would Scotland not look to seek to engage with a Nato ally and, of course, with somebody we would seek to do business and trade with?"

The First Minister said he would raise human rights concerns "as I tend to do whenever I have meetings with international leaders".

He added: "But I should say, of course we do that in a way that also recognises we're on a human rights journey, as are other countries."

The first of the four vessels being built at the yard in Yalova, near Istanbul, the MV Isle of Islay, is due to be launched on March 16.

The second, MV Loch Indaal, is expected to be ready by February 2025, to be followed by MV Claymore and MV Lochmor in June and October of next year.

The first two ships will serve Islay, while the third and fourth will operate in the Western Isles.

The first of the two new vessels being built for the Arran route, MV Glen Sannox, is currently expected to be delivered to CalMac at the end of March this year - six and a half years after it was launched at the Ferguson Marine yard in Port Glasgow.