Addressing a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the presidential complex in Ankara, Erdogan said: "[May’s visit] is very important for Turkey and the U.K. in terms of Syria and Iraq.

“We want to have a different approach towards the cooperation between coalition forces and Turkey."

Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in late August 2016 in northern Syria to tighten its border security, eliminate the terror threat along its borders, and support opposition forces in the region.

The Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces fight both Daesh as well as the terrorist PKK's Syrian offshoot PYD, which the U.S. considers a "reliable partner". This difference in views has been a tension between Turkey and the U.S.

Since the U.K. announced its decision in a referendum in 2016 to part ways with the EU, critics have warned the U.S.-led coalition forces fighting Daesh in Syria and Iraq may also get adversely affected by this change.

May, who is on her first official visit to Turkey as prime minister, also discussed the recently-held Astana talks as well as the upcoming Geneva talks at the end of February, both of which aim to find a political solution in Syria.

Astana talks were brokered by Turkey, Russia and Iran, whereas the Geneva talks will take place under the auspices of the UN.

The British premier also said Turkey and the U.K. were trying to create conditions for "peace" as well as continue their fight against Daesh in Syria. 

Steps for Cyprus discussed

Erdogan also said he discussed the issue of Cyprus with May.

Three days of high-level talks in Geneva took place on Cyprus earlier this month under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K.

"We also discussed what kind of steps we could take for Cyprus," the president said.

May said the U.K. and Turkey were committed to play their parts "for an early settlement".

On Jan. 11, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots exchanged maps on proposed territorial boundaries and the documents were sealed in a UN vault. Talks between two sides continue under UN auspices in Lefkosa.

The eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup on the island was followed by the peace operation of Turkey as a guarantor power.

Call to boost trade ties

Underlining that they not only discussed strategic partnership but also economic and military cooperation during the meeting, Erdogan said Turkey and the U.K., as two NATO allies, should further engage in areas such as defense industry and energy.

"Turkey aims to increase at the first stage its trade volume annually from $15.6 billion to $20 billion with the U.K.," he said.

"We'll be pleased to see the U.K.'s investments in Turkey from now on. We welcome the determination [of U.K.] on this."

According to several media reports, May's visit aims to find new trade deals following Britain's decision to withdraw from the EU.

May added her country and Turkey will form a joint working group to prepare the ground for the post-Brexit trading relationship.

She also said that both countries had agreed to step up the work together on aviation security with a "program of shared training and information exchange."

May also described Turkey as one of the oldest allies of the U.K, and said she was proud her country stood by Turkey after the defeated July 15 coup of last year in defense of Turkish "democracy."

Anadolu Agency