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Obama Discusses Syria, Iran With Turkish PM

3/26/2012 3:59 AM ET

United States President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have discussed the situation in Syria and Iran's nuclear standoff with the West at a hotel in Seoul ahead of an international nuclear summit.

The two leaders met for 90 minutes on Sunday prior to the start of the summit in the South Korean capital. Obama told reporters after the meeting that political developments in Syria dominated the agenda and said they were "very much in agreement that transition to legitimate government in Syria is needed."

Erdogan, whom the the U.S. President described as an "outstanding partner," said his and Obama's views were in general overlapped on the Syrian issue. "As people with a conscience, we cannot remain spectators and have to do something [about Syria] via international law," Erdogan was quoted by Turkish media as saying.

Meanwhile, Turkey suspended all activities at its Embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday in the wake of further deterioration of the security situation in that Arab country, the Foreign Ministry said.

Citing Turkish diplomatic sources, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported that Turkey had also temporarily recalled its Ambassador to the Syrian capital.

Violent crackdowns by security forces on pro-democacy protesters for the past one year have claimed more than 8,000 lives and forced at least 50,000 syrians to flee to neighboring Turkey forcing it think about creating a buffer zone inside Syria.

Erdogan said his proposed visit to Iran this week would be about Syria and that he discussed it with Obama along with developments in Iraq. "It was a very productive meeting," he added.

Erdogan said measuresdemocracySyrians against attacks by the "terrorist" Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in southeast Turkey were also discussed with Obama. "We are particularly delighted to see the U.S. to stand by Turkey in its fight against the PKK. Our fight will continue," he added.

Turkish security forces have killed at least 25 PKK activists, including 15 female members, over the past few days in clashes in south-eastern Turkey. A clash in Bitlis was believed to be the largest one-time casualty toll for women since the PKK, which was designated as a terrorist organization by several countries, began fighting for autonomy nearly 28 years ago.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Ömer Çelik, National Intelligence Organization (MIT) Under-Secretary Hakan Fidan and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar accompanied Erdogan during the meeting.

by RTT Staff Writer

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