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Turkey’s Prime Minister’s Visit to Washington

Syuzanna Petrosyan |
May 17, 2013 | 7:49 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer


(Wiki Commons)
(Wiki Commons)
On May 16 President Barack Obama hosted Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington. The main agenda of the visit was to seek support for Turkey’s policies toward Syria. During a joint press conference, Obama and Erdogan reiterated their shared view that Syrian President Bashar Assad must step down. Erdogan has been outspoken on the need for intervention in Syria’s war, which is raging on his country’s border. The humanitarian crisis in Syria has resulted in an influx of refugees into Turkish cities (now numbering over 300,000), putting a heavy burden on the Turkish government. 

The much-anticipated meeting between Obama and Erdogan left many significant  issues unexamined. According to ForeignPolicy.com, Turkey is the world's leading jailer of journalists, ahead of both Iran and China, and Turkey’s pattern of silencing media dissent undermines its strategic relationship with the US as well as Turkey’s role as a regional leader. Obama was hesitant to address human rights concerns during the meeting, despite the increasing suppression of the media in Turkey under vague terror laws. 

ALSO SEEhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/14/turkey-jail-journalists-kurdish-question

Furthermore, Kurdish issues also remained unexamined. Recently, the Turkish Government signed a historic cease-fire with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), an organization regarded as “terrorist” by the U.S. State Department. As negotiations with the PKK proceed, Turkey has announced a deal to develop oil fields in northern Iraq by tightening its links to the autonomous government of Iraqi Kurdistan. The move has been deemed “illegal” by the Iraqi Government and has been criticized by the Obama Administration. 

Reach Executive Producer Syuzanna Petrosyan here. Follow her on Twitter. 



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