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Erdogan Likely to Press Obama For Arms to Syrian Rebels

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may find US President Barack Obama more receptive to supporting Syrian rebel forces, writes Semih Idiz.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara May 7, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXZDD5

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be in Washington next week for what diplomats are billing as the most crucial talks in recent times between the two countries concerning developments in the Middle East, with the crisis in Syria topping the bill. The talks with US President Barack Obama on May 16 will also cover Iran, Iraq, the Middle East peace process, Turkish-Israeli ties and Erdogan’s controversial visit to Gaza at the end of May.

There are issues, of course, over which the two countries are in disagreement, such as the Gaza visit and Ankara’s developing ties with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq that Washington frowns upon. In turn, Ankara is disappointed with Washington’s failure to act more robustly against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The general mood of the one-day talks is nevertheless expected to be “positive” and “cooperative,” rather than “confrontational,” according to Foreign Ministry officials in Ankara who spoke with Al-Monitor.

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