Obama, Erdoğan discuss Syria, Cyprus in rare phone conversation

Obama, Erdoğan discuss Syria, Cyprus in rare phone conversation

Obama, Erdoğan discuss Syria, Cyprus in rare phone conversation

Obama's call was the first phone conversation between the two leaders in the past six months.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a lengthy phone conversation Feb. 18 to discuss developments in Syria and the launch of talks to reach a solution in Cyprus. 

In their first phone conversation in six months, Obama and Erdoğan talked for nearly one-and-a-half hours and exchanged views on strategic issues. 

The two sides mutually decided to hold the phone call in the wake of the launch of the new round of unification negotiations in Cyprus, according to diplomatic sources. 

Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources said the two leaders’ agenda did not include the ongoing corruption operation or the government’s legal amendments on key issues, such as the bills on the Internet and the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). 

Substantial information about the content of the phone talks was provided by the White House late on Feb. 19. 

“President Obama spoke by phone today with Prime Minister Erdoğan of Turkey on a range of bilateral and regional issues. The president affirmed the value he places on a strong, mutually respectful bilateral relationship with the Republic of Turkey and expressed his view that Turkey can demonstrate leadership in the world through positive engagement,” it said in a statement. 

Obama and Erdoğan agreed on the importance of close cooperation between Turkey and the United States to address the growing terrorist presence in Syria and on the shared interest in continuing efforts to advance a political solution to the Syria conflict.

Encouraging Baghdad and Arbil to find common ground on energy issues was also on their agenda, while Obama thanked Erdoğan for his constructive role in Turkey’s efforts on Cyprus to renew negotiations for a settlement.  

“The prime minister noted the launch ceremony for the Boeing 737 Peace Eagle on Friday. The president and prime minister spoke about the importance of quickly concluding the normalization agreement with Israel,” the White House said.  

“The leaders also discussed the need for strong, sustainable, and balanced growth in the global economy, and the president noted the importance of sound policies rooted in the rule of law to reassure the financial markets, nurture a predictable investment environment, strengthen bilateral ties, and benefit the future of Turkey,” it added.