Obama praises Turkish PM for call for calm over anti-Islam film
In this Aug. 6, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign fundraiser in Stamford, Conn. AP photoU.S. President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday to discuss regional and global issues with the Turkish leader, the White House announced. Obama commended Erdoğan's "leadership" in his calls to resist provocation in the wake of deadly protests which erupted after a U.S.-made anti-Islam film spread over the Internet.
The two leaders talked for 40 minutes on the phone, during which Obama expressed condolences for yesterday's deadly attack on a convoy of unarmed Turkish troops that left 10 soldiers dead and 70 injured. Erdoğan, in turn, expressed his condolences over the loss of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens during the assault on the American consulate in Benghazi. The Turkish prime minister criticized the violent protests by saying that an insult to one's religion could not be used as an excuse to attack people. At the same time, however, he slammed the provocative film and said insulting the Prophet Muhammad "could not be considered within freedom of speech."
Obama and Erdoğan reiterated the necessity to work together against "all forms of terrorism," during their conversation which also touched on the escalating violence in Syria. The two shared their concerns over the use of violence against civilians and the urgent need for a transition.
The American and Turkish leaders discussed the two governments' "very close and effective cooperation" in the face of the crisis in Syria and pledged to "advance" the work, the White House statement said.