British PM's visit to Turkey will strengthen ties

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal

British Prime Minister Theresa May will visit Turkey on Jan. 16, Daily Sabah has learned from diplomatic sources. During her visit, the prime minister is expected to meet with her counterpart Binali Yıldırım and will also be received by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Theresa May is the newest prime minister of the U.K., having assumed the position in July 2016 after Tory leader David Cameron's abrupt resignation in the wake of the Brexit referendum. The U.K. is likely to start Brexit talks with the EU in March of this year as the country aims to establish its relations with Turkey by improving bilateral relations, since the European Union relationship will be unclear in the medium term.

Sharing the same perspective on the Syrian crisis and the upcoming Astana peace talks between the Assad regime and Syrian opposition forces, the Cyprus issue and the establishment of joint counter-terrorism efforts are expected to be the main items on the agenda of Prime Minister May. Bilateral talks between May and her Turkish counterpart will include the economy and mutual defense projects such as the Turkish fighter jet project TFX. Having signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement in 2010, Turkey and the U.K. have become a shining example of solidarity in the wake of the July 15 failed bloody coup attempt perpetrated by FETÖ terrorists.

Becoming the first minister to visit Turkey in the wake of the coup attempt, U.K. Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth office Sir Alan Duncan visited Ankara on July 22 and also returned to the Turkish capital on Jan. 4 during his most recent visit, describing the U.K.'s relations with Turkey as being at "a good level." Minister of State Duncan also expressed the U.K.'s willingness to help Turkey in its counter-terrorism fight, while the U.K. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson also paid a visit to Turkey in September last year, attending bilateral meetings in Ankara and visiting a Syrian refugee camp near the Turkish-Syrian border where he toured a kindergarten facility and local school, chatting with Syrian families there.The foreign minister also observed a group of Syrians trained in the detection and disposal of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) display their skills in an empty field near the refugee camp.

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