Turkey, World, Europe

Turkish president, British premier speak over phone

Leaders discuss trade, tourism, defense, COVID-19, bilateral ties, regional developments

Zafer Fatih Beyaz   | 08.03.2021
Turkish president, British premier speak over phone

ANKARA

In a phone conversation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on ways to improve bilateral relations as well as on regional issues, said diplomatic sources Monday.

The two leaders discussed several issues, including tourism, defense, agriculture, investment, COVID-19s, and ways to develop Turkish-UK ties, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

During the conversation, Erdogan said that Turkey welcomes the UK's efforts on the Cyprus issue, adding that a two-state solution would result in a win-win situation not only for the two sides on the island, but for everyone in terms of new opportunities for regional cooperation.

Turkey is continuing its positive attitude in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean as well as on Cyprus, he added, stressing that despite Greece's provocative actions and rhetoric, Turkey has maintained its calm attitude and determination to continue exploratory talks.

Turkey and Britain, along with Greece, are the three guarantor countries for the island of Cyprus.

Next month the UN is due to hold informal 5+1 talks on the Cyprus issue, including the two parties on island along with the three guarantor countries, plus the UN.

Turkey is ready to host the Turkish-British Tatlidil Forum in the second half of 2021, pandemic conditions permitting, Erdogan said, adding that he hopes the tourist season will begin in April safely and without barriers.

The Turkish-UK free trade pact signed late last year was a turning point in bilateral ties, he explained, stressing that steps in this context will help achieve a bilateral trade volume of $20 billion.

The historic free trade pact, covering potential trade worth more than £18 billion ($24.3 billion), has been in force since Jan. 1.

The Tatlidil Forum, founded in 2011, brings together leading figures from the fields of academia, business, media, and politics to strengthen relations between Turkey and the UK.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin

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