British Prime Minister Theresa May, who met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, arrived in Turkey on Saturday for a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — another important but complicated British ally.
May flew overnight to Ankara by RAF Voyager jet from the U.S., where she and Trump hailed a new chapter in the trans-Atlantic “special relationship.”
May’s talks in Ankara with Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will focus on boosting trade between Turkey and Britain once the U.K. leaves the European Union, and on increasing cooperation over security and counterterrorism.
May, who is paying her first visit to Turkey since becoming prime minister, is under pressure at home to condemn Turkey’s clampdown on civil liberties since the government crushed a coup attempt in July.
Turkey has detained tens of thousands of people suspected of links to a movement led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government accuses of orchestrating the failed attempt. More than 100,000 others have been dismissed from government jobs.
The clampdown extended to other government opponents. More than a hundred journalists and pro-Kurdish party leaders are in jail.
Kate Allen, head of Amnesty U.K., said the visit was a “vital opportunity” for May to ask “probing questions” about allegations of excessive use of force and ill-treatment in detention.
May’s office said Britain urged Turkey “to ensure that their response is proportionate, justified and in line with international human rights obligations.”
May and Turkish leaders are also expected to discuss the conflict in Syria and efforts to reunite Cypru