Erdogan and May to ‘explore opportunities presented by Brexit’

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on the sidelines of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 20, 2016 in New York City. (AA)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone conversation with British Prime Minister Theresa May late on 9 May, presidential sources said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sources said the pair discussed peace efforts in Syria, the Cyprus unification process and matters regarding the EU as well as burgeoning bilateral ties.

Both leaders emphasised the important of furthering bilateral ties, Turkish media reported.

A statement by Downing Street said May had spoken to Erdogan “to express her wish to deepen cooperation on a range of issues,” underlining “the importance of our strong security partnership.”

The British PM said emphasising Turkey’s “constructive role in helping to establish de-escalation zones” through the Astana talks, while both “reaffirmed their desire to explore the opportunities presented by Brexit,” the statement added, with a particular nod on cooperation for Turkey’s domestic fighter jet project, reported Hurriyet.

Commentators have highlighted that the phone conversation comes following US approval of arms to Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria.