May and Erdogan reaffirm security and trade bonds

May and Erdogan reaffirm security and trade bonds

Amid the rush of criss-crossing the country ahead of the 8th June general election, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May took the time to speak to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier in the month.

The phone call was made ahead of a London conference on Somalia and the conversation between the two leaders focused on the common security concerns and the future of the bilateral trade relations.

A Downing Street spokesperson said that Mrs May underlined the importance of the “strong” security partnership between the two countries.

On Syria the Prime Minister welcomed the progress made at the Astana talks and praised Turkey’s “constructive role” in helping establish de-escalation zones. Theresa May underlined the importance of the talks being linked to a broader political process, culminating in a transition of power away from Bashar al-Assad.

With regard to the UK-Turkey trade relationship they reaffirmed their desire to explore the opportunities presented by Brexit. Theresa May has faced criticism domestically about the intensity with which she has been courting Erdogan’s regime in her quest of trade partners for when the UK exits the EU. Opposition politicians have questioned whether Britain should be so close to a regime with dubious credentials on the respect of human rights.

The phone call was concluded with the leaders saying they were looking forward to meeting at the NATO Summit in Brussels later this month.

The two leaders also discussed the Cyprus settlement talks. Mrs May reiterated that “while there remains an opportunity for an historic agreement to be reached, all parties need to be prepared to take bold steps.” She added that the UK stands ready to play a role in seeking a solution./IBNA