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UK-Turkey links "never been stronger"

Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Number 10.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Mr Cameron said the visit came at a “pivotal moment for the Middle East” with Turkey playing a central role with its links to both east and west.

In a press conference following their private meeting, the PM said bilateral links between the two countries had “never been stronger”.

He also welcomed the announcement of a new UK-Turkey Chief Executives Forum which will work to further trade between the two countries.

They also discussed the “vital contribution Turkey was making to the operation in Libya” and Mr Cameron praised Turkey’s powerful diplomatic role.

The PM added that Turkey will have a seat at the newly formed International Contact Group on Libya. The new Contact Group was agreed at the London Conference on Libya on Tuesday.

The press conference followed news that Qadhafi’s former foreign minster had travelled to London and defected.  Mr Cameron said the fact that Musa Kusa had abandoned the dictator showed the Libyan regime was “crumbling from within”.

Other topics the two leaders discussed included Turkey’s aims to become a member of the European Union. The PM said the UK continues to champion their aspirations.

Mr Cameron visited Turkey in July last year where he called for a new partnership between Britain and Turkey.

Previous story: PM backs Turkey’s EU bid

Read the full transcript of the press conference with the Turkish Prime Minister.

Published 31 March 2011