News / Middle East

Kerry Trip Focuses on Israel-Turkey Relations

Kerry Trip Focuses on Israel-Turkey Relationsi
April 05, 2013 6:21 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling to the Middle East with planned stops in Istanbul along with Jerusalem and Ramallah. The trip is designed to solidify progress after U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to the region ended a Turkish-Israeli diplomatic deadlock. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington.
Kerry Trip Focuses on Israel-Turkey Relations
Meredith Buel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry heads to the Middle East Saturday with planned stops in Istanbul along with Jerusalem and Ramallah. The trip is designed to solidify progress after U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to the region ended a Turkish-Israeli diplomatic deadlock.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently apologized to Turkey for a deadly 2010 maritime commando raid in a gesture brokered by President Obama designed to restore diplomatic relations between the two strategic U.S. allies.

The bilateral relationship severely deteriorated after nine Turkish activists were killed during an Israeli attack on a Turkish flotilla bound for Gaza.

Turkey accepted the apology.

President Obama hailed the breakthrough. "I have long said that it is in both the interest of Israel and Turkey to restore normal relations between two countries that have historically had good ties," Obama said.

Kerry is expected to continue efforts to improve relations between Ankara and Israel in a trip to both nations.

"Given the situation in the region right now, given Turkey’s problems with Iraq, with Syria and with Iran and given Israel’s very, very difficult situation with Iran and generally in the Arab Spring, so therefore this is a very important strategic step," said James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey who is now a visiting fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

While in Istanbul, Kerry will also discuss the civil war in Syria.

Turkey, which shares a 900-kilometer border with Syria, is a crucial nation backing the Syrian opposition.

"This is a very, very good development, his going back to the region. It is very good that he is bringing Turkey in. It is not just Syria. It is also Iraq, and it is Iran. These are very existential issues for Turkey, and we need to be better coordinated," Jeffrey said.

Kerry will also visit Jerusalem and Ramallah as the Obama administration tries to end the stalemate over peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinians want a halt to the construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, while Israel says talks should resume without preconditions.

"The Secretary and the President have both said there is an urgent window for the parties to come back to the table, that we are prepared to support them in that, but we can’t do more than they’re willing to do themselves," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Palestinian protesters have been clashing with Israeli security forces over the recent deaths of two demonstrators and the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails - issues likely to be raised by Palestinian leaders during Kerry's visit.

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Comment Sorting
by: Old Turkish Soldier from: Turkey
April 06, 2013 7:22 PM
I agree with Dr. Hanz that Military has great respect for Israel. and that Mavi Marmara terrorists and hooligans were helped by the Turkish Islamic government and not by the Turkish military. however, the Islamic Gülen movement is in structure like the Nazi party Baath Party like the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization and they are killing all dissenters in the Military - ALL !! so, I don't think the military is strong enough to take over Government in Turkey. everybody is afraid EVERYBODY... !!! and we all know what comes next - civil war

by: Steve McCullen from: Ireland
April 06, 2013 11:43 AM
A military takeover in Turkey will be a very welcomed news to many in Europe. not only will it bring forth a more coherent geopolitical orientation, draw Turkey away from the revolting influence of Saudi Arabia and Qatar on Turkey Islamist fanatics, but it will pull back Turkey's debacle in Syria.

by: Barney Rubble
April 06, 2013 4:37 AM
"while Israel says talks should resume without preconditions."
really ? Israel is happy for talks to carry out with Palestinians who fire rockets and do not accept in advance Israel's claim to statehood ?
I think not - you probably meant Israel wants talks with concurrent hoovering up of the remains of Palestine's land.

by: Dr. Hanz from: Germany
April 05, 2013 8:29 PM
the suppression of Turkey military command by Erdogan has worried many in the EU, since they are the guardians of secular Turkish tradition. However as Turkey reverted to extreme Islamism, the consensus in Europe is that the US should not facilitate "improved" relation between Turkey and Israel. Turkey's economy is deteriorating at a faster rate than any reversal of the global economy is predicted to reverse... we all know that the Turkish military establishment has very strong relations with Israel... and we believe they will eventually take over the Islamist government in Ankara.
In Response

by: Frank Romano from: usa
April 06, 2013 11:16 AM
There is a major flaw in the Dr’s thinking the military may have close ties with Israel but so did the Military in Egypt it took the Muslim Brotherhood a short period of time to replace the Generals who might have complained. The Islamics control with fear wherever they spawn they conquer

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