Erdoğan busy with nuclear and Syria crisis talks

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who recently held a meeting with US President Barack Obama, had talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran ahead of a fresh round of nuclear negotiations. (PHOTOs AA, KAYHAN ÖZER)

April 01, 2012, Sunday/ 12:35:00

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a meeting with US President Barack Obama in Seoul that focused on Syria, and then later traveled to Iran to meet President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to discuss that country’s nuclear program.

Erdoğan and Obama, two leading critics of the brutal Syrian regime, met on Sunday and agreed on a course of action concerning Syria, before the critical upcoming İstanbul meeting on Syria on April 1. Their long discussion on Sunday came before an international nuclear security summit in the South Korean capital of Seoul. Appearing in a joint press conference with Erdoğan, Obama said that political developments in Syria dominated the meeting’s agenda. He said they are “very much in agreement” that a transition to a legitimate government in Syria is needed.

“We worked on a common agenda in terms of how we can support both humanitarian efforts ... and the efforts of Kofi Annan to bring about much needed change,” Obama stated. Erdoğan said he is pleased that his views generally overlap with Obama’s on the subject of Syria.

On Wednesday, the Turkish prime minister paid a visit to neighboring Iran to discuss the results of the international nuclear security summit in South Korea that focused on Iran’s disputed nuclear enrichment program.

He met for one-and-a-half hours with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the second day of his visit. The meeting was closed to the press. Speaking after talks with Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi on Wednesday, Erdoğan defended a nation’s right to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Turkey, which calls for a negotiated settlement to an international dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, is willing to host the next round of talks between Iran and major international powers -- the P5+1 group of the US, Russia, China, France, the UK and Germany.

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