#UK Obama urges lower tensions between Russia, Turkey


US President Barack Obama  leaves the 'Mission Innovation: Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution' meeting at the COP2, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Monday, Nov. 30 2015. (Ian Langsdon, Pool photo via AP)

PARIS (AP) — President Barack Obama is calling for a reduction in tensions between Turkey and Russia following Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian warplane.

Obama is meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) in Paris on the sidelines of global climate talks.

Obama says Turkey is a NATO ally and has a right to defend itself. He says the U.S. is very interested in accelerating its military relationship with Turkey.

Obama is describing the Islamic State group as the common enemy of Russia, Turkey and the U.S. Obama has been working to persuade Russia to focus its airstrikes in Syria against IS, instead of U.S.-backed rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Erdogan says Turkey, too, wants to avoid tensions with Russia. He says Turkey is “determined to keep up the fight” against IS.

Erdogan is also emphasizing the need for a political transition in Syria. He’s pointing to a new diplomatic effort and says he’s hoping for a “sigh of relief.”

Erdogan is suggesting that Russia has been targeting opposition groups including the Turkmen inside Syria. He says areas where there are no Islamic State fighters are being “continuously” bombed.

Obama is also addressing the refugee crisis stemming from Syria’s civil war. Obama is praising Turkey for generously accepting Syrian refugees. He says border security has been strengthened.

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