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February 21, 2014 11:31 am

Obama Urges Erdogan to Renew Diplomatic Ties With Israel

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President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walking along the Colonnade at the White House. Photo: Samantha Appleton. U.S. President Barack Obama spoke on the phone with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday and discussed with him the “importance of quickly concluding the normalization agreement with Israel.”

According to a statement issued by the White House, the two leaders discussed several other issues as well, including cooperation “to address the growing terrorist presence in Syria.”

Two weeks ago, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported that Israel and Turkey were “closer than ever” to normalizing their diplomatic relations. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted by the paper as saying, “There has recently been a momentum and new approach in compensation talks. We could say that most of the differences have been removed recently in these discussions.”

Several days later, however, Erdogan demanded that Israel lift the sea closure on the Gaza Strip.

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