UK Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday that Britain is Turkey’s “true friend,” but urged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to uphold democracy and human rights. Erdogan held talks with May at 10 Downing St. on the final day of a three-day trip to the UK, AP reported.
Kurdish activists and human rights groups rallied outside May’s office before the meeting, condemning Erdogan’s increasingly autocratic rule.
His government arrested more than 50,000 people following a July 2016 coup attempt, and some 38,000 people still are behind bars for alleged links to the failed overthrow. More than 110,000 people have been purged from government jobs through emergency decrees.
May acknowledged that Turkey faced “extraordinary pressures from the failed coup, instability across the border from Syria and from Kurdish terrorism.” But she said it was important that Britain’s fellow NATO member “does not lose sight of the values it is seeking to defend.”