President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey hopes to boost annual trade with Britain to $20 billion from $15.6 billion a year following top-level meetings with Theresa May and his own Prime Minister Binali Yildirim this morning.
Mrs May called the discussions in ANkara “very fruitful” and branded Turkey one of the UK's "oldest friends" as the pair promised future co-operation in trade, defence and energy.
She said: "Turkey is one of the UK’s oldest friends but there is much we can do in the future to build on that relationship together."
The Prime Minister said she wanted to build on the opportunity for trade to benefit both countries.
President Erdogan said Turkey and the UK will now have yearly meetings to discuss relations.
Theresa May will disucss post-Brexit trade talks with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
We have agreed that we will have a joint working group to prepare the ground for our post-Brexit trading relationship
Mrs May said: “You mentioned Mr President the opportunities for enhancing the trade between our two counties and we have discussed that.
“We both want to build on our existing links and I believe that doing so will be to the benefit of both our countries and for the prosperity of both our nations.
“We have agreed that we will have a joint working group to prepare the ground for our post-Brexit trading relationship.
“What has underpinned out discussions has been the pop for Turkey and the UK to build on our existing relations which stretch back many years.”
President Erdogan said important steps will be taken on the TF-X fighter jet project as Mrs May said the pair discussed Cyprus, Syria and stepping up aviation co-operation.
Mr Erdogan said: "On a political note Turkey and the UK have both been bestowed upon with the capability of moving forward jointly, and with military point of view we have forged a close solidarity and we are investing our efforts in a very committed fashion.
"We’ve discussed what we can do further in these aspects and what steps can be taken forward in defence industry.
"Madam Prime Minister will have another round of meetings with Prime Minister of Turkey.
"The process as of now between the UK and Turkey will be enjoying a very different nature and a very different position.
"Every year we will get together to discuss where we are coming from and where we are headed.
"The military partnership will be strengthened and consolidated."
The Prime Minister who was under pressure to challenge Mr Erdogan on human rights, also urged the Turkish President to uphold human rights and the rule of law.
Mrs May arrived for her talks with Mr Erdogan to find her own image dominating television screens in the presidential palace, which were showing footage of her visit to the White House on Friday.
As she sat down to begin talks, the Turkish president pointed out the footage playing on a huge TV screen. "It was well covered in Turkey," an aide to the president explained, as Mrs May laughed in surprise.
Mr Erdogan asked how the weather in Ankara – currently under a light coating of snow – compared to Washington. "Here is colder," she replied.
Theresa May and President Erdogan pledged to work together
Before meeting the president, Mrs May paid her respects at the tomb of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic.
Dressed in sombre black, the PM bowed her head in respect after laying a large red and white wreath – the colours of Turkey's flag – before Ataturk's sarcophagus inside the imposing mausoleum building which perches on a hill in the centre of Ankara.
Mrs May then signed her name in the visitors' book, beneath the message: "It is a great honour to visit this special place of remembrance to the founding father of modern Turkey.
"Let us together renew our efforts to fulfil Ataturk's vision of peace at home and peace in the world."
The meeting comes as tensions escalate over Turkey’s threats to tear up a migration agreement with EU member Greece because of a row over its refusal to extradite troops allegedly involved in last year's botched coup.
Mrs May was under pressure to confront Mr Erdogan over human rights, following his crackdown on dissent in the wake of the coup, which has seen a wave of arrests, the closure of numerous media outlets and the removal of thousands of public officials – including judges, academics and teachers – from their jobs.
Amnesty International said the human rights situation has "deteriorated markedly" during the state of emergency imposed by Mr Erdogan.
The organisation's UK director Kate Allen said the visit was a "vital opportunity" for Mrs May to ask "probing questions" about allegations of excessive use of force and ill-treatment in detention.
Theresa May is greeted by the President Erdogan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara
Theresa May will spend one day in Turkey
Before the meeting Downing Street was unable to confirm whether human rights would be raised during the talks, though aides did not rule it out.
A Number 10 source said: "The Prime Minister's approach is quite clear – she thinks it's important, and in the UK's national interest, to engage with Turkey on a range of issues, from defence and security co-operation to capitalising on trade opportunities.
"We have already expressed our strong support for Turkey's democracy and institutions following the coup – but we have also been clear that we urge Turkey to ensure that their response is proportionate, justified and in line with international human rights obligations."
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People react after they take over military position on the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul on July 16, 2016
Number 10 said Mrs May was keen to take advantage of the opportunities for increased trade with Turkey that will become available after Britain's exit from the EU.
Already, working groups have been set up with around a dozen countries around the globe to pave the way for free trade agreements, though formal negotiations cannot take place until the UK has left the EU.
The PM also wanted to discuss increased security co-operation particularly in the areas of aviation security and counter-terrorism. She and Mr Erdogan are expected to agree to closer collaboration through a strategic security partnership.
Donald Trump and Theresa May were photographed holding hands before their first press conference
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Fri, January 27, 2017
The two leaders will spend about an hour in face-to-face talks in the Oval Office, where President Trump has restored a bust of Winston Churchill removed by predecessor Barack Obama.
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President Trump Meets With British PM Theresa May At The White House
The meeting comes hours after Mrs May became the first world leader to meet with Donald Trump following his inauguration in Washington.
Mr Trump pledged “lasting support to this most special relationship” and said it was "one of the great forces in history for justice and for peace".
The sense that Mrs May had hit it off with the president on their first meeting was reinforced when the pair briefly held hands as they walked from the Oval Office to their first press conference together.