Obama meets Turkish president; Russia and China wary of protesting N Korea rocket launch; what's behind protests in Thai capital; Baghdad bombings; and more
Top of the Agenda: Obama Turkey Trip
U.S. President Barack Obama met Turkish President Abdullah Gul today in Ankara, opening a two-day tour of the country. Yesterday Obama spoke out in favor of Turkey's rapid integration (FT) into the European Union, saying it would prove an important step toward mending rifts between the West and the Muslim world. The Associated Press reports Iraq could also prove a major point of discussion, as Obama is eager for Ankara to help him wind down U.S. military operations there.
The Turkish news outlet Hurriyet reports major points of focus for Turkey will include how to work together to clamp down on the Kurdish separatist group, PKK, which has launched attacks both in Turkey and Iraq. Turkey may also seek to reinforce intelligence-sharing mechanisms that facilitate efforts by the Turkish military to launch cross-border raids into northern Iraq if they gain wind of PKK activity. The article adds that Obama may press the need to foster economic and political development in Kurdish communities, not just military action.
- CFR's Steven A. Cook, in a new expert brief, looks at the broadened role Turkey has played recently in Middle East politics, acting as a mediator on several important policy disputes.
- This Backgrounder profiles the PKK.
- Hurriyet's full coverage of Obama's visit is available here.
PACIFIC RIM: Rocket Launch Fallout
The UN Security Council failed to agree (LAT) on a joint condemnation of North Korea's rocket launch this weekend, with Russia and China expressing reluctance about antagonizing Pyongyang.
CHINA: Beijing unveiled a plan (Xinhua) for reforming China's health care system over the next decade.
THAILAND: The Bangkok Post looks at the politics swirling around recent protests in the Thai capital and notes that some elements of the country's government are planning counterprotests.