News / Middle East

    Obama, Erdogan Downplay Syria Differences

    President Barack Obama (right) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at joint news conference May 16, 2013
    President Barack Obama (right) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at joint news conference May 16, 2013
    President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan say the U.S. and Turkey are determined to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leave to pave the way for a political transition.
     
    In a news conference following bilateral talks, both leaders downplayed differences over Syria, underscoring the importance of maintaining pressure on the Assad regime while sustaining Syria's opposition.
     
    President Obama recognized Erdogan for being "at the forefront" of efforts to achieve a democratic Syria, and said Turkey will play a key role in coming weeks.
    Loading...

    "We both agree that Assad needs to go," the president said. "He needs to transfer to a transitional body. That is the only way that we are going to resolve this crisis. We are going to keep working for a Syria that is free from Assad's tyranny, that is intact and inclusive of all ethnic and religious groups and that is the source of stability not extremism, because it is in the profound interests of all our nations, especially Turkey."
     
    Prime Minister Erdogan said Turkish and U.S. views "overlap" on Syria, pointing to "full agreement" on the need to end bloodshed and establish a new government, describing key objectives as the departure of Assad, preventing Syria from becoming a base for terrorists, and preventing use of chemical weapons.

    Related video report by Kent Klein
    Obama, Erdogan: Assad Needs To Goi
    X
    May 17, 2013 12:40 AM
    President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are playing down their disagreements over how to address the ongoing violence in Syria. As VOA’s Kent Klein reports, the two leaders spoke to reporters Thursday after meeting at the White House.
    Erdogan then fielded a question about what impact there would be on the Syrian civil war if the U.S. does not step up its involvement.
     
    "You are talking about the part of the glass which is empty," he said. "I would like to look at things with the glass half full, instead of half empty. What we would like to see is the sensitivity on the part of the international community with respect to what is going on in Syria. This is what we as Turkey strive for and I do believe the United States is doing the same."
     
    When asked if he had presented evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria, he said information has been shared with all countries and the United Nations.
     
    President Obama had this response when asked about his "red line" on the use of chemical weapons.
     
    "The use of chemical weapons is something that the civilized world has recognized should be out of bounds," Obama said. "As we gather more evidence and work together, my intention is to make sure that we are presenting everything that we know to the international community as an additional reason and an additional mechanism for the international community to put all the pressure they can on the Assad regime."
     
    Obama said he preserves the option to take additional steps, both diplomatic and military, saying chemical weapons threaten U.S. security and that of its allies and friends.
     
    Thursday's Obama-Erdogan meeting also covered Turkish-Israeli talks to normalize their relations. Erdogan said he plans to visit Gaza and the West Bank in June, describing his upcoming trip as something that will help Palestinian unity.
     
    On the topic of Israel-Palestinian peace efforts, and Iran, Obama said both world leaders agreed it is critical that Iran not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon and potentially trigger a regional arms race.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Alzaripov from: Russian Federation
    May 18, 2013 1:03 PM
    Certainly, B.Assad and his regime can and should be swept away by the pressure of the international community.
    But the truble is, the evil continually takes a different form and again triumphs.
    Perhaps it needs these vilains somehow to re-educate than to allow new ones in their place could do even greater evil.

    by: Hatem Zaki from: Egypt
    May 17, 2013 6:22 PM
    In Egypt , Turkey for the Majority is an attractive model for the Modern Islam .at the beginning of MB ruling they were sure that the Egyptian MB are as modern as the Turkish counterpart .but the mask dropped day after day .Egyptians found out how the MB are reactionaries.

    by: howard from: Ca
    May 17, 2013 10:00 AM
    Assad is a good man. The only problem is he will not cooperate the psychopaths trying to take over the world. In a healthy society, his actions would be admirable, but here in the USA many things are things are in a state of decay, and therefore he is looked at like a villain. Assad is a hero and a man of courage in my book.
    In Response

    by: friedich from: america
    May 17, 2013 12:02 PM
    Maybe - but, Obozo is a criminal. A congenital liar, traitor, socialist.
    In Response

    by: Nicholas from: Las Vegas
    May 17, 2013 10:47 AM
    Assad is wonderful and he'll go to heaven. And so will his sheep, now that they are arming themselves to the teeth and howling God is Great! They'll keep killing each other, for that is what brothers in religion do. Oh, how I wish the pestilence of religion to evaporate and leave mankind to live in peace.

    by: gerald muldoon from: northern ireland
    May 17, 2013 7:17 AM
    Realy, why should Americans worry who rules Syria The Assad family at least have kept the lid on mass murder for a long number of years just as Saddam did in Iraq and Gadaffi in Libya and the list goes on. Why really is America, which during my younger days was an example to the rest of the world always anxious about countries that pose no threat to thier national security whatsoever chewing at the bit to involve themselves.

    China, which is set to become the no 1 economy gets on with the business of running their country. Unfortunaly the USA is pictured here and in the rest of the world as a nation with a large military which ignites unrest in wherever under the guise of democracy must be imposed even if it was never a tradition in that region Are Egypt Libya and Iraq places you would go to for your holidays?

    by: MUSTAFA from: PAKISTAN
    May 17, 2013 1:02 AM
    West is MASTER in creating problemsssssssssssssss. They cannot solve problems or rather this is not their duty to solve problem. We have very good experience of TALIBAN. Who are the MAIN SUPPORTERS for money and weapons every body knows. Now what dirty game they are playing in the name of ISLAM in Pakistan. Their main target in Syria just to CHANGE the regime and bring puppet regime who can receive dictation without any hesitation. How much suffering for common Syrians, no body can imagine. AL QAIDA in the name of ISLAM eating human parts of dead soldier in front of camera without any shame. So just imagine if they can eat human parts in front of camera without shame, so what is their activities behind cameras. If any body is thinking that Syrians will have better life than Assad, i think this is good dream which will never be in real life.

    by: Alex from: USA
    May 17, 2013 1:02 AM
    Erdogan is the enemy of the USA and West like his Iranian friend Ahmadinejad. He is an ISLAMIC Fox who needs all new American technology and Arms (like Patriots). He also wants to join EU (there are already a lot of Turks there) just to take advantage and to expand fundamental Islam through the world.

    So, do the Americans or West need this kind of friend? He wants to visit Gaza and supporting Hamas, which is recognized by US and EU as the terrorist organization. This is another provocation planning by Erdogan.

    Turkey under Erdogan is a different country (like Iran) and it must be repelled out from the NATO- ASAP!

    by: asd from: ChiIL
    May 16, 2013 11:42 PM
    israel is at war with syria as long as I remember.

    This is another example how our tax money go for israel war. perhaps i schould look if there is to boycott in my shopping cart.

    Perhaps boron from dead sea couse cresines in the near asia region.

    sure Obama is 10e10 times better, Romney will be theater disaster.

    by: charlie from: california
    May 16, 2013 2:41 PM
    Suppose the Confederacy had wanted to conquer the North, not secede. Would the way to end the violence be to keep telling the feds to get rid of Lincoln and bring a coalition gov to power? No,the way to end the war is to let it grind to its end or to send enough aid to one side to end it. I think this is less about helping Syrians than it is about an opportunity for the West to end the Syrian-Iran connection. All it is doing is pro-longiing the war. Right now the West is doing everything it can just to keep the rebels fighting

    by: demaz from: America
    May 16, 2013 2:34 PM
    While the Syria issue is topical and seems to be the most important item according to current media headlines, the VoA has failed to report on other important issues between the two countries. For example, did the two leaders discuss the 40 year old invasion by Turkey of Cyprus and the occupying forces there; did they discuss the tension between two NATO countries (Turkey and Greece) regarding valuable oil and gas deposits in the Aegean; and what about the religious freedom of Christians in Turkey (the Orthodox seminary in Halki and the recent plot to assassinate the Orthodox Patriarch)? VoA cannot duck its responsibilities by reporting on headlines news. After all, it is not CNN.
    In Response

    by: Ferdi from: Turkey
    May 17, 2013 6:16 AM
    You know nothing about the Cyprus issue. Please first make your own homework before make a comment. What do you think, why Turkey has placed forces there? It was not an invasion, but saving lives...
    In Response

    by: charlie from: California
    May 16, 2013 6:04 PM
    Good point. The Turks shouldn't even be in Cyprus. Cyprus should be part of Greece.

    by: Sam from: Turkiye
    May 16, 2013 2:10 PM
    Turkish people don't want war against any country on the contrary of Erdogan.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora