Obama, Ergodan seek common ground on Middle East

By REUTERS
September 21, 2011 02:14

 
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NEW YORK - President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan sought common ground on counter-terrorism and Middle East policy on Tuesday even as Washington pressed Ankara to ease tensions with close US ally Israel.

Their talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly came as a showdown loomed this week over Palestinian statehood at the world body, another source of rising tensions in a region in political upheaval.

Washington has watched with concern as NATO ally Turkey's once-friendly ties with Israel have deteriorated rapidly over Israel's 2010 killing of Turkish activists in a Gaza-bound aid convoy. The crisis has underscored Israel's growing isolation and the new limits of US influence in the Middle East.

Obama and Erdogan made no mention of the Israeli-Turkish rift when they appeared before reporters, opting instead to focus on deadly attacks in Turkey on Tuesday that they agreed underscored the need for cooperation on counter-terrorism.

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