Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that there would be noteworthy progress made in foreign relations between Turkey and the U.K. since Britain left the EU in Brexit. Speaking to economy editors of national newspapers in Istanbul on Saturday, the prime minister evaluated Turkish-U.K. relations saying the two countries have begun to hold talks to determine post-Brexit bilateral relations.
Turkey currently has a Customs Union Agreement with the EU, which involves the U.K. as a part of the EU. However, Britain needs to renew its trade deals with the entire world, since the country will no longer be a part of the EU's trade agreements with other countries. The U.K. is a major trade partner with Turkey, and bilateral trade between the two has been of great benefit to Turkey, as the country's exports to the U.K. exceed the imports from the country. At the end of 2015, Turkey's exports to the U.K. were around $10.5 billion, while the import level stood at $5.5 billion.
Touching upon the failed July 15 coup attempt, Yıldırım said that the U.K. has taken a clear stance since the attempt. "The U.K. was among the countries that were quick to condemn the attempt and supported Turkey," he said. Yıldırım also mentioned the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson's visit to Turkey, underlining that Turkey's warm relationship with the U.K.continues: "Now, they are joining our club - the ones out of the EU," the prime minister joked.
Turkey's prime minister is actually not the only one who sees better relations between two countries in the near future. British Minister of State for International Trade Greg Hands said the U.K.'s relations with Turkey will be better after its secession from the EU, adding they determined defense, infrastructure, health, nuclear energy and finance as priority sectors in economic relations with Turkey. Earlier this month, Hands spoke to Sabah newspaper about the future course of Turkey-U.K. relations after Brexit. Highlighting that it might take months, perhaps even years to secede from the union, Hands said that Turkey will become an even more important country outside of the EU. He also touched on the fact that the U.K. has larger trade volume with Turkey than with other big countries like Russia and Mexico, adding, "I think Turkey-U.K. relations will be better especially in the economic area."