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INTERNATIONAL > Turkish PM Erdoğan and US President Obama held phone conversation: Deputy PM

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US President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are seen during their meeting at the White House in Washington, May 16. Washington has been very vocal regarding the Gezi Park protests. DHA photo

US President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are seen during their meeting at the White House in Washington, May 16. Washington has been very vocal regarding the Gezi Park protests. DHA photo

U.S. President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on June 24, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told reporters following a Cabinet meeting.

"I know that the conversation was very positive," he said.

The White House said the conversation is about the importance of free expression, following days of violence in anti-government demonstrations.

The two leaders also discussed Syria, and the need to provide more support to rebels both sides support, after Washington signaled it was ready to provide military aid to fighters battling President Bashar al-Assad.

The White House said in a statement that Erdoğan described the situation over Gezi protests.

"The two leaders discussed the importance of nonviolence and of the rights to free expression and assembly and a free press," the statement said.

Arınç said Obama's call was made at 5 p.m. local time and the conversation lasted about one hour.

Washington had been very vocal from the start of the protests over the demolition of Gezi Park in Istanbul, which then spread across the country during recent weeks. Both the U.S. State Department and the White House issued more than a dozen statements calling for restraint and respect for freedom of assembly.

June/24/2013

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