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UK foreign secretary visits Turkey to enhance trade, security cooperation

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The United Kingdom’s foreign secretary, James Cleverly, is visiting Ankara today to have talks with Turkey’s foreign and defense ministers and discuss enhancing the cooperation between the two countries on trade and security, according to a press release from the British government.

“He will hold high-level talks aimed at enhancing trade, protecting regional security and cooperating to tackle the shared security challenges of counter terrorism, serious organised crime and illegal migration,” the press statement said, adding that Cleverly will become the most senior UK minister to visit Turkey since the formation of the new Turkish government in May.

In addition to meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and Defense Minister Yaşar Güler, Cleverly will visit Turkey’s crisis response center to hear how the UK aid is helping Turkey recover from two devastating earthquakes in the country’s south in February, which led to huge devastation and claimed more than 50,000 lives.

The UK contributed 46 million euros (£40 million) in aid and assistance to help rebuild the livelihoods of those devastated by the earthquakes.

“The UK and Turkey are strategic partners, working together to confront the most important international issues we both face. Our close cooperation on a range of issues is crucial to growing our trading relationship, tackling shared security priorities and strengthening regional stability at a time when it faces unprecedented challenge,” the minister said before his visit to Turkey.

The UK and Turkey have recently expanded their cooperation on tackling illegal migration as London announced a new deal with Turkey in August against illegal migration which includes a new operational “center of excellence” to be established by the Turkish National Police.

London announced the plan as part of its attempts to reduce illegal migration to the UK, a key political issue.

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