Obama, Turkish PM stress political solution to Syria crisis

Photo: Obama, Turkish PM stress political solution to Syria crisis / Turkey

U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to continue efforts to advance a political solution to the Syria conflict, the White House said on Wednesday.

During a telephone conversation, Obama and Erdogan underlined the importance of close cooperation between two countries to address the growing terrorist presence in Syria, which neighbors Turkey, White House said in a statement.

Obama expressed his view that Turkey can "demonstrate leadership in the world through positive engagement," said the statement.

The two leaders also spoke about the importance of concluding the normalization agreement between Turkey and Israel.

Turkey recalled its ambassador from Israel and downgraded ties with the Jewish state after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara, a humanitarian ship owned by a Turkish charity group that was participating in a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in 2010. The incident left nine Turkish activists onboard dead.

The aid vessel, part of a larger flotilla group, had been attempting to break Israel's long-standing naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israel offered a belated apology three years later but the normalization of relations has been stymied by the compensation deal for the victims' families.

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