POLITICS > Turkey, US agree ‘al-Assad should go for a free Syria’


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U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan conduct a joint press conference, during a rain shower, in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 16. AFP photo

U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan conduct a joint press conference, during a rain shower, in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 16. AFP photo

Turkey and the United States agreed that a democratic process without Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was needed for a democratic transition of the war-torn country, U.S. President Barack Obama said today in a press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“We [referring to Erdoğan] both agree al-Assad needs to go,” Obama said following a meeting the Turkish premier that lasted more than two hours. 

Obama also offered his condolences over deadly Reyhanlı attacks and said his country would always be on Turkey’s side in its efforts to fight terrorism.

“We will continue to increase the pressure on al-Assad regime and we will continue to work with the opposition,” the U.S. president said, who also thanked Turkey and Turkish people “for the hospitality shown to the Syrian refugees.”

Turkey will also play a major role in efforts to bring together all sides of the conflict at a planned international conference to be held soon, adding that efforts will continue to create a Syria “free from al-Assad’s tyranny.”

Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan said the meeting was a milestone in Turkey-U.S. relations. He also emphasized that Syria was on the top of the agenda of the meeting. 

“During the talks we saw that our thoughts on the process until today and on what can be done from now on overlapped,” Erdoğan said, adding that backing the opposition, preventing the use of chemical weapons respect of the minorities’ rights were the main priorities.

Working dinner on Syria

Regarding his previous statements on the use of chemical weapons as the U.S. government's "red line," Obama told reporters that he preserved the option to take additional steps but those would not be unilateral.

"There are a whole range of options that the United States is already engaged in. And I preserve the options of taking additional steps, both diplomatic and military, because those chemical weapons inside of Syria also threaten our security over the long term as well as our allies and friends and neighbors," he said, adding that the Syrian conflict was an international problem.

"It's very much my hope to continue to work with all the various parties involved, including Turkey, to find a solution that brings peace to Syria, stabilizes the region, stabilizes those chemical weapons, but it's not going to be something that the United States does by itself, and I don't think anybody in the region, including the prime minister, would think that U.S. unilateral actions in and of themselves would bring about a better outcome inside of Syria."

Erdoğan said both countries were sharing all information regarding the use of chemical weapons and missiles in Syria.

"I want to see the glass half full. We want to see the sensibility of the international community. I believe that the United States is showing efforts [in Syria]. We will work to [find a quicker solution] with members of the U.N. Security Council, of the Arab League or other countries who show their sensibility even if they are outside [the region]," Erdoğan said adding that Turkey's goal was to end the violence in its neighboring country.

"The only thing that we want is to save Syria from an autocratic regime and a dictatorship."

Erdoğan said they would continue to discuss the Syria issue with Obama during a working dinner May 16. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Obama's National Security adviser Thomas Donilon are also expected to participate in the dinner.


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Notice on comments

joe Maddin

5/17/2013 9:29:51 PM

How things are going like now, by the end of 2014 Bashar Al Assad may still the president of Syria , and Erdogan looking for a job.

The Prisoner

5/17/2013 8:10:19 PM

Personally I think Recep should go! There would then be a chance to further world peace, increase stability in the ME and bring democracy back to Turkey!

Tracy Lockett

5/17/2013 7:22:03 PM

It was obvious when both sides met what the outcome would be. From the minute the missiles were moved to SE Anatolia we could see this coming! I'm not expert but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out what's going on here!

american american

5/17/2013 5:10:35 PM

james, with the ottomans conquering and occupying almost all the arab and north african states....why does this surprise you? they never cared


5/17/2013 5:04:34 PM

Syrian traggedy is still going on. History will tell us why and how this happened. How a country and lives of its people were destroyed.

Jim Phipps

5/17/2013 4:21:47 PM

I'm rather amazed with the lunacy and discussion about Israel while innocent good Syrians die daily. Sorry boys I don't buy the propaganda. This is a Turkish-Jordanian-Iraqi-Lebanese issue with little interest from most of these countries for democracy of some kind in Syria. The US could flatten Syria in days but do not expect American boots on the ground again. We simply do not have a dog in this hunt. One must wonder what if any the above mentioned countries will do?

David Bensoussan

5/17/2013 2:15:17 PM

Need of clarification: fellow Muslim country is fellow because it bombs its civilians in order to maintain its dictatorship or it is Muslim because it does so? It is hard to make sense of this argument. Human kind is one !

Blue Dotterel

5/17/2013 7:08:25 AM

Given that Assad was popular with most Syrians before the terrorist war, and that he is the most likely to win any election (indeed, a CIA report allegedly suggests he would get 75% of the vote), how would his being undemocratically banned make for a free Syria? The US attacked Libya where Gadhafi was popular, and freed Libyan tyranny and Western exploitation. Apparently, freeing Syria for Western exploitation is the only real freedom these globalist imperialists have in mind.

Eyal Eyal

5/17/2013 5:12:31 AM

As Winston Churchill said the Americans will always do the right thing after they will try all the other options.

james headington

5/17/2013 12:19:58 AM

I just cannot believe Turkey has become part of the US-Israeli axis of evils against a neighbouring muslim country. Clearly US and Israel do not care about people in in the region or the world. They only following their own economical and political interests. As why Turkey is preparing to work against the interests of its neighbours and in favour of Israel and US is truly mind bugling. Can any one understand this? The membership of of the EU is nothing but a mirage. It is not going to happen.
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