News / Europe

Turkey Criticizes US Request to Delay PM's Gaza Visit

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (r) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ankara, Turkey,  April 22, 2013.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (r) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ankara, Turkey, April 22, 2013.
Reuters
Turkey on Monday criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for asking Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to delay his planned visit to the Palestinian Gaza Strip, in a blunt put-down that underlined often prickly ties between the NATO allies.

Erdogan, who has for years spoken of his desire to visit the Palestinian enclave, said last week he planned to go in late May after an official visit to the United States earlier in the same month.

But during a visit to Turkey on Sunday, Kerry said he had asked the Turkish leader to delay his visit so as not to upset U.S. efforts to revive Ankara's ties with Israel and Middle East peace talks.

"Mr. Kerry's statement ... from a diplomatic perspective was objectionable, wrong and was incorrect," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters in Ankara.

"Only the Turkish government decides when and where the prime minister or any other Turkish official travels to," said Arinc, who also serves as the government spokesman.

During a visit to Turkey in March, Kerry also called a comment by Erdogan likening Zionism to crimes against humanity "objectionable", in a disagreement that has cast a pall over talks between Turkey and the United States.

Erdogan had been expected to visit Hamas-controlled Gaza this month but postponed his trip, apparently at the request of the United States. However, Arinc said Erdogan would have visited this month had his schedule allowed.

He will travel to Washington to meet U.S. President Barack Obama on May 16.

Hamas's refusal to recognize the Jewish state and past vows to destroy it are a key reason behind an Israeli blockade of the coastal territory since Hamas seized it from the more moderate pro-Western Fatah movement in 2007.

Europe and the United States have long demanded Hamas drop violence and recognise Israel as a condition for any dialogue.

Erdogan's planned trip would also come at a sensitive time for Turkish-Israeli relations, frozen after the 2010 killing by Israeli marines of nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship.

In March Obama brokered a first step in reconciliation between Turkey and Israel, two main allies of Washington in the  Middle East, by persuading Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize to Turkey over the incident.

Israeli Delegation

In another sign of rapprochement, an Israeli delegation was in Ankara on Monday for the first time since 2010 to discuss compensation to the victims' families.

"The meeting was generally a positive meeting ... the amount of compensation was not discussed ... and was not determined, but methods and rules of calculating the amount were discussed during the meeting," Arinc said after the talks.

Arinc said a second and possible third meeting would be held in order to resolve the issue, which would be a "major step toward full restoration of diplomatic ties".

The head of the Turkish delegation meeting the Israelis said the next meeting would be held in the next few days.

Turkey cut its once extensive ties with the Jewish state after the so-called "Mavi Marmara" incident in 2010, named after the Turkish ship which led the flotilla that tried to breach  Israel's blockade of Gaza.

Ankara expelled Israel's ambassador and froze military cooperation after a U.N. report into the incident, released in September 2011, largely exonerated the Jewish state.

It set precise conditions for normalizing ties - an apology, compensation and Israel lifting its embargo on Gaza.

A mending of ties between two of Washington's main allies in the region could bolster U.S. influence in the Middle East, help coordination to contain the spillover from the Syrian civil war and ease Israel's diplomatic isolation among its neighbors.

But for all the diplomatic flurry, a full restoration of ties still appeared some way off.

Israel has made clear it did not commit to ending its Gaza blockade as part of the reconciliation, an oft-repeated Turkish demand, saying days after the apology that it could clamp down even harder on the enclave if security was threatened.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ozlam from: Canada
April 22, 2013 9:38 PM
Erdogan destroyed my country. We used to have a proud Military, proud people, today fear is everywhere. The proud Turkish Military is afraid from arrests and arbitrary detentions. The whole country is disfigured by fear. Very bad Economy. Secret Police MIT very bad - people disappear... NATO doesn't care because they are so corrupt and America try hard not to see - political correct... the Muslim Brotherhood have taken over my country

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid