Erdogan, Obama discuss Karabakh face to face
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Barack Obama last week held a brief face-to-face meeting after last week's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. In addition to the Middle East, the two leaders discussed efforts to normalize ties between Armenia and Turkey and resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. While Obama emphasized the importance of normalization between Armenia and Turkey for the entire region, Erdogan stressed that more efforts by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group would help speed up the process. The group, which has been working for over a decade to mediate the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, is co-chaired by the US, France and Russia. Obama said that he knows of the critical importance of Nagorno-Karabakh in Turkish-Armenian normalization. At a weekend press conference in New York, Erdogan said Obama told him the Minsk Group would step up its efforts, adding that he brought up the same issue when he met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. In related news, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and reportedly discussed Turkish-Armenian normalization and efforts by the Minsk group.