Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a defence agreement after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Benali Yildirim during her visit to Ankara. The £100 million deal between BAE Systems and Turkish Aerospace Industries is for the Turkish Fighter Programme, which develops fighter jets. Mrs May has agreed to enhance the UK’s trade relations with Turkey, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also agreed to increase Turkish trade with the UK to £16 billion. Mrs May said that the agreement “marks the start of a new and deeper trading relationship with Turkey” and “underlines once again that Britain is a great, global, trading nation“.
BBC Turkey correspondent Mark Lowen believes that this deal will be welcomed by Mrs May as a sign of what is to come for futurebilateral trade talks in post-Brexit Britain. She has called Turkey one of the UK’s “oldest friends“, but acknowledged that the relationship has room for improvement. Mrs May said that both countries will establish a joint working group to “build on existing links” and to set the framework for post-Brexit UK’s trading relationship with Turkey. Brexit secretary David Davis has previously predicted that “a round of global trade deals” would be “fully negotiated” in 12 to 24 months, with the government planning to trigger Article 50 by the end of March.