Erdoğan, Obama discuss political transition in Syria

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and US President Barack Obama discussed »»

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and US President Barack Obama discussed regional and international developments, particularly those in Syria, in a 40-minute meeting on Tuesday, according to the Turkish Prime Ministry.

The Prime Ministry said that Erdoğan and Obama discussed Syria at some length and each expressed concern over the worsening situation in the country. The two leaders, along with accompanying delegations, met on the sidelines of the June 18-19 G-20 summit in Mexico.

The Prime Ministry added that both leaders stressed the need for the international community to do what is required to resolve the 15-month crisis in Syria.

The White House on Tuesday released a press statement on the meeting, saying the two leaders discussed the importance of moving toward a political change in Syria that would bring about a government which would stop the bloodshed and meet the demands of the Syrian people.

The White House said Obama and Erdoğan stressed the need for a political transition that ends the violence in Syria.

The statement said Erdoğan and Obama also reviewed the need to boost cooperation in combating terror and discussed the latest developments in Iraq, each expressing support for Iraq's territorial integrity during their bilateral meeting.

The two leaders also discussed the details of a prospective meeting of the Turkey-US Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Ömer Çelik also participated in the meeting.

The meeting between Erdoğan and Obama came after Erdoğan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. The Turkish prime minister and Putin came together on the sidelines of the G-20 summit to discuss a new roadmap for resolving the Syrian crisis.

Turkey, once a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, now insists together with the US that he must step aside, while Russia has remained a steadfast ally of the embattled Assad regime. Moscow has charged that the US and its allies are fueling the Syrian conflict by assisting Syrian opposition groups, and has so far blocked the UN Security Council from issuing a resolution denouncing Assad out of concern that it could pave the way for a foreign military intervention in Syria. However, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday Putin made it clear during the G-20 summit that he does not want President al-Assad to remain in power in Syria. Russia has been the staunchest backer of Assad and his military crackdown against protesters, support that includes supplying arms to the Syrian government.



Columnist: TODAY'S ZAMAN