Fresh from their bilateral meeting before the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, President Obama said today that he gets much more from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan than political consultation.
“So the bottom line is that we find ourselves in frequent agreement upon a wide range of issues. Our discussions are frank and honest, and I very much appreciate our collaboration,” Obama said.
“And I also appreciate the advice he gives me, because he has two daughters that are a little older than mine — they’ve turned out very well, so I’m always interested in his perspective on raising girls,” the president added.
Erdogan, who called Obama “my dear friend Barack” at the press conference, said that the first item on their agenda was the Syrian revolution. Turkey has taken in more than 17,000 refugees fleeing President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign of violence in Syria.
“And of course, as human beings, people with conscience, we cannot remain a spectator to these developments, which are things that we have to be doing something about within the framework of international law,” Erdogan said. “And I’m also very pleased to see that our views in general very much overlap on this subject.”
He announced that the two leaders would meet again in Ankara in June.
“A very, very important point has been that from the moment Barack became president we upgraded the status of our relations from a strategic partnership to a model partnership, which he also placed a lot of importance on,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan has two sons and two daughters, who both wear the headscarf in a country where many residents are wary of the prime minister’s AKP party chipping away at the secularism of the republic. His younger daughter, Sümeyye, caused an uproar last year when she walked out of a play due to “undesirable elements” — one of the actors reportedly winked at her.