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Turkish president to visit Britain for talks with Theresa May

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s trip to London comes 16 months after the Prime Minister met him in Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to visit the UK for talks with Theresa May on May 15, Downing Street has announced.

Number 10 said that his trip would be an opportunity for Britain and Turkey to demonstrate their close relationship.

Mrs May met Mr Erdogan in Turkey on a one-day visit in January last year, when they agreed a £100 million defence deal to help develop fighter jets for the Turkish air force.

Mr Erdogan has been widely accused of a campaign of repression against perceived opponents in the press, academia and judiciary following an unsuccessful coup in 2016.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The visit is an opportunity for the UK and Turkey to demonstrate our close bilateral relationship and to have important discussions about issues of shared interest.”

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas MP, a supporter of the Best for Britain campaign against a hard Brexit, said: “As we hurtle towards Brexit it’s clear that the Government is increasingly willing to cosy up to repressive leaders from across the world.

“President Erdogan is an autocrat, who inflicts serious harm on his own population – yet we’ve flogged him millions of pounds worth of weapons and now we’re inviting him over for tea.

“It would be utterly appalling if Theresa May doesn’t take this opportunity to stand up to Erdogan’s human rights abuses, and if the only outcome from these meetings was smiling photos with a leader who we’re desperately trying to court before the Brexit crunch begins.”

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