Obama to meet Erdogan, European leaders in Turkey
President Barack Obama is set to meet Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and European leaders at an upcoming summit but Russian President Vladimir Putin is not on the meeting schedule, the White House said Thursday, Anadolu agency reported.
"Clearly, in addition to discussing the G-20 summit and the agenda there, the two leaders will also be focused on our counter-ISIL efforts and the situation in Syria where Turkey has been a critical ally and partner," said Ben Rhodes, Obama's national security adviser.
He said Obama and Erdogan will meet Sunday. A day later, Obama will meet separately with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Those talks will focus on the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts.
"The president obviously will be in a unique opportunity to, first of all, spend time with President Erdogan who's a very important player and partner in the counter-ISIL effort," said White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who added that a meeting with Putin was not planned.
"There is not a formal meeting between the president and Mr. Putin on the schedule, but as has often been the case at the G-20 and other multilateral leaders' meetings, we fully expect they'll have ample opportunity for discussion directly," Rice said.
She said a meeting with Putin was not planned because "the schedule is very packed".
The leaders of the world's 20 largest economies will gather in Turkey as the neighboring Syrian crisis is well into its fifth year.
"The setting in Turkey, in addition, obviously will make Syria a topic of conversation. The venue will provide a forum to reinforce the complimentary nature of our military and diplomatic efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. As we work to bring about a political solution to the broader Syrian conflict," said Rice.
Obama will host a press conference following the summit, before he departs Turkey for the Philippines on a six-day Asian trip where the focus will shift to the recently signed Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.