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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 16, 2013 1:48 PM
Giving support to an opposition that has clearly shown itself as man-eater is suicidal and shameful. Various voices of reason have questioned the rationale behind blind support to an opposition that is terrorist in outlook, yet Obama and Erdogan continue to tout support for the removal of Assad despite glaring disappointment of previous Arab Springs in Egypt and Libya. Agreed the removal of Assad will remove the reach of the shiite arm of Iran and Hezbollah from the region, but is there no better goals to achieve in the area if Assad is allowed to transit the regime to a better democratic one devoid of the institutionalizing of barbarism by the opposition that is simply going to entrench deeper rooted terrorism in the region? The present make up of the Syrian opposition can only breed nothing but more ravenous and barbaric regime to which the oppressive/suppressive regimes in Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah will be a child's play.

by: Steve from: USA
May 16, 2013 1:37 PM
Obama vows. That's funny.

Is this like his "red line" promise?
In Response

by: charlie from: California
May 16, 2013 2:48 PM
No, Steve you are funny. That sarin gas, after reading all the news and not just Netanyau and his fellow travelors in the West, looks like it may have been dropped by one of the many dissimilar rebel groups. Israel has decided to bust up Iran-Syria, after at first being worried about the consequences of bringing an unknown entity to power in Damascus. They are lying about the gas And may end up with someone who eats human hearts running Syria. Good luck with that Middle Eastern Idi Amin.
Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs