WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan this week spoke about recent unrest in Turkey, the White House said on Tuesday, discussing the situation for the first time since protests erupted in late May.
In a phone call on Monday, "the two leaders discussed the importance of non-violence and of the rights to free expression and assembly and a free press," the White House said in a statement.
The United States has repeatedly expressed concern about Turkey's crackdown on protesters but Monday's phone call is the first time the two leaders have spoken directly since the conflict began.
Obama and Erdogan also discussed Syria, "including the regime's use of chemical weapons against its own people," the White House said.
The two leaders said they were committed to "pursuing a political solution" in Syria and the need to support opposition groups "to improve their effectiveness," the statement said.