British Premier Theresa May arrives in Ankara

May visits Anitkabir — mausoleum of Turkish republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

May, who is on her first official visit to Turkey since becoming the premier, started her day by paying her respects at Anitkabir, which is the mausoleum of Turkish republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

British Ambassador to Turkey Richard Moore accompanied her during the visit.

In her meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential complex, May is expected to discuss several issues, including the fight against Daesh and the situation in Syria as well as strengthening bilateral political and trade ties.

She is also expected to meet Prime Minister Binali Yildirim at the Cankaya palace, which will be followed by a joint press conference

May to raise trade security with Turkey

A day after meeting US President Donald Trump and winning his approval and some assurances on economic cooperation, May arrives in Ankara to launch a joint working group for preparing the ground for a new trade relationship after Brexit. Her spokeswoman said May and Erdogan would discuss two key themes: “(They) will be discussing a new trade relationship following the UK’s exit from the EU”, and “they are expected to agree to … a strategic security partnership.”

May’s government is keen to start laying the groundwork for bilateral trade agreements for when Britain leaves the European Union – a process that will take at least two years after triggering the formal divorce talks by the end of March.

May’s spokeswoman said Turkey would be the 13th country to set up a working group on trade with Britain. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on a visit to Ankara last year that he hoped for a “jumbo” free trade deal with Turkey after Brexit. While Ankara is not a member of the European Union, it aspires to join the bloc and has a customs union with it.

The United Kingdom was the second-largest destination for Turkish exports in 2015, buying $10.6 billion in goods, according to IMF trade data. Only Germany imports more from Turkey.