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.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs