A $125 million defense equipment deal with Turkey was signed by Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday. May promised to push for more trade with Turkey and among NATO allies.
Speaking to reporters at the presidential palace in Ankara alongside President Tayyip Erdogan, May called Turkey one of Britain’s oldest friends.
“I’m proud that the UK stood with you on the 15 July last year in defense of democracy and now it is important that Turkey sustains that democracy by maintaining the rule of law and upholding its international human rights obligations as the government has undertaken to do,” she said.
The British PM, in Turkey after a trip to Washington where she met U.S. President Donald Trump, visited both countries for the first time as prime minister, promoting trade agreements to strengthen her hand in negotiations to leave the European Union.
At a joint news conference later with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, May also avoided criticizing Trump’s sweeping ban on people seeking refuge in the United States, saying Washington was responsible for its policies on refugees.
In her Turkey visit, as in the United States, it was clear May’s priority was on securing trade. She said the UK and Turkey had agreed to form a joint working group for post-Brexit trade and would step up an aviation security program.