President Barack Obama makes a statement on the situation regarding the Internal Revenue Service May 15, 2013 in the East Room of the White House. (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
(USA Today) -- President Obama turns back to Middle East diplomacy on Thursday.
The president welcomes Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan to the White House for a series of talks.
A primary topic: The civil war in Syria.
Erdogan is pushing the United States to do more to resolve the conflict in Syria.
"The prime minister's visit underscores the close friendship between the United States and Turkey and the strategic importance we place on broadening and deepening our relationship moving forward," says the White House.
After a bilateral meeting in the morning, Obama and Erdogan will host a brief news conference.
Thursday night, the president hosts a working dinner with Erdogan.
The news conference is likely to include questions about domestic disputes swirling around Obama, including Benghazi and the Internal Revenue Service admission that it targeted conservative groups over their tax-exempt status.
On Wednesday, Obama's aides released talking points officials developed in the days after the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack, while the president dismissed the acting IRS director.