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PM calls Turkish president and offers condolences over terror attacks on country

Theresa May has spoken to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and offered condolences following the recent terror attacks which have hit the country.

The call, a head of a forthcoming visit to Turkey by the Prime Minister, also provided the chance for the two leaders to discuss the Cyprus peace talks.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: " They agreed on the importance of reaching a successful resolution to the Cyprus peace talks in Geneva, noting that this was a real opportunity to secure a better future for Cyprus and to guarantee stability in the wider region.

"The Prime Minister also expressed her sincere condolences on the attacks in Istanbul and Izmir.

"They wished each other a happy and peaceful New Year and the Prime Minister said she looked forward to visiting Turkey early this year."

Mrs May wrote to Mr Erdogan after the New Year attack on an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people, vowing to help Turkey defeat terrorism.

A separate attack on Thursday near a courthouse in Izmir killed a policeman and a court employee.

Mrs May's visit follows a trip by Boris Johnson last September which saw the Foreign Secretary engage in a charm offensive to make amends for a rude poem he had penned about President Erdogan.

Mr Johnson sparked controversy by using a satirical limerick to describe the head of state as a ''wankerer'' who had sex with a goat.

Mr Erdogan's grip on power was strengthened when he outmanoeuvred an attempted coup last summer.

He went on to announce a state of emergency that allowed him to bypass rules when introducing new laws as well as restrict and suspend rights and freedoms.

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