U.S. President hails Erdogan's election - first by popular vote in Turkish history - as "historic opportunity" to move Turkey forward
WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday congratulated Turkey’s President-elect, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on his electoral victory in the country’s first direct presidential election.
In a phone call, Obama “praised the Prime Minister’s speech on Sunday and noted that as Turkey’s first directly elected President, the Prime Minister has an historic opportunity to further move Turkey forward,” according to a readout of the call provided by the White House.
In his first address to his supporters following his victory, Erdogan vowed to strengthen the Turkish democracy and to continue to support the ongoing "solution process" to end terrorism in the country.
The election was widely seen as a referendum on Erdogan's leadership as prime minister and head of the ruling party.
Both Obama and Erdogan agreed on the importance of close cooperation between their countries on Syria and Iraq, and the threat posed by extremist groups in the region.
“The President welcomed Turkey’s humanitarian aid to vulnerable Syrians and Iraqis, and both agreed on the need to ensure cooperation and such assistance continue,” according to the White House.
The leaders also discussed ceasefire efforts in the Gaza Strip and "expressed hope that a new Iraqi government will bring all communities together."
World leaders have given their congratulations to Erdogan since Monday, after he received nearly 52 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off, according to Turkey's Supreme Election Board. Erdogan was elected to a five-year term as president.
Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency