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May to raise human rights during Erdogan's visit

Despite protests, Britain hopes to foster good ties with Turkey

Source: Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May will raise human rights issues at talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in London later on Tuesday, her spokesman said.

“Our close relationship with Turkey allows us to have frank discussions and you can expect the prime minister to discuss human rights when they speak later today,” the spokesman told reporters,

“Our close relationship with Turkey allows us to have frank discussions"

He added that they would discuss how to build cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, migration, regional stability and trade.

May will try to foster good ties with Turkey before Brexit at talks with Erdogan in spite of human rights protests which threatened to cast a shadow over their meeting.

Erdogan’s visit is part of May’s charm offensive to shore up relations with countries outside the European Union as Britain leaves the bloc and secure at least the promise of future trade deals to bolster her all but stalled Brexit plans.

Just hours before the leaders were due to meet, around 100 protesters waved banners outside May’s Downing Street office depicting Erdogan as a puppet master with blood on his hands.

Another said “tamam”, or enough.

About 20 metres away, separated by barriers and a police cordon, a similar number waved Turkish flags in the direction of the anti-Erdogan protesters, chanted and played loud music.

The two sides briefly scuffled.

May secured a commitment last year for Britain and Turkey to work on post-Brexit trade, and Erdogan has said he was keen on securing a deal immediately after Britain leaves the EU.

Ties between the EU and Turkey are increasingly strained, with Brussels saying that Erdogan is leading his country away from the path to membership, while some Turkish officials say they feel betrayed by some the bloc’s leaders.

Turkey  |  Erdogan  |  May  |  Britain  |  human rights

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