Erdoğan talks Syria, Egypt with Obama
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) listens to US President Barack Obama during a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden in Washington on May 16, 2013. (Photo: Reuters, Kevin Lamarque)
US President Barack Obama and Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have discussed ongoing unrest in Syria and Egypt, according to the White House and the Turkish Prime Ministry.
The two leaders on Wednesday discussed foreign extremists fighting in Syria and the need for the opposition fighting President Bashar al-Assad to be unified and inclusive. Violence from Syria's two-year civil war has been spilling over into Turkey. Turkey is also concerned that Syrian Kurds seeking more power could embolden autonomy-seeking the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists in Turkey.
Obama and Erdoğan also discussed Egypt and the need for a return to democracy. Both countries have been concerned that violence and unrest there could destabilize other parts of the region.
Responding to questions by reporters in İstanbul on Wednesday, Erdoğan said during the phone talk, both him and Obama expressed concern over extremist groups in Syria. “We all know that extremist groups are struggling to get a position in Syria.
The Turkish prime minister also shared his comments on Egypt, saying the current government in Egypt is a “coup government.” “Western countries still can't call it a coup. They call it an intervention,” he said, continuing his criticism of the West on Egypt.