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Erdogan discusses missile plans with Obama

Kader Kadem | 10:09 | 5Comments
A G-20 summit in Seoul offered Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the opportunity to once more express Ankara’s reservations about NATO’s planned anti-missile system during a bilateral meeting with US President Barack Obama.

Erdoğan responded affirmatively when asked on Friday whether NATO’s US-backed plans were on the agenda of his talks with Obama. “We conveyed our sensitivities to him,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency while speaking to reporters at the Grand Intercontinental Hotel in southern Seoul after the summit closed. The two-day G-20 meeting was attended by a total of 33 global leaders.

The meeting between Erdoğan and Obama came only days ahead of the NATO Lisbon summit on Nov. 19-20, at which time a decision regarding the controversial missile defense system will be made.

Turkey is demanding that within NATO's strategic concept document there should be no references to any specific country as a threat and that the legitimization of the missile system should be made in general terms.

Another principle that Turkey is insisting on is that they “NATOize” the system, which means it should supply protection to every member state and that the burden and risk should be shared on just and equal terms.

Erdoğan said he also raised technical issues, including who would have command and who would push the button, during the meeting with Obama.

“We made requests for some technical explanations and, as a matter of fact, I have observed that [Obama] has a positive look is regarding these requests,” he added. Erdoğan further noted that Turkey would make its final decision on the issue following the Lisbon summit during which the country will be represented by the president, the foreign minister and the defense minister.

While in Seoul, in addition to Obama, Erdoğan also had talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a meeting that was later joined by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The prime minister had bilateral meetings including those with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Today, after meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at a breakfast meeting, Erdoğan will proceed to Dhaka, Bangladesh, for a two-day official visit.
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