• Mon. Dec 11th, 2023


    Allways With You

    Top US diplomat in Turkey to allay Ankara’s anger over Gaza


    Nov 7, 2023

    ANKARA — Turkey’s president has blasted the West’s hypocrisy for shedding “crocodile tears” over civilian deaths in Ukraine, while idly standing by as Israel devastates Gaza.

    Antony Blinken visited Turkey on Monday with the mission of appeasing the anger of one of Washington’s most strategic but also most difficult allies, amid the war in Gaza.

    The US secretary of state met his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan for the first time since fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas on 7 October.

    Turkey’s foreign minister asked Blinken for an “immediate” ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, stressing that it was “necessary to prevent Israel from targeting civilians and displacing people,” according to an anonymous Turkish diplomatic source.

    Their meeting comes amid surging anger against Israel and the West in Turkey and the wider region.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan chose to visit a remote region in the northeast of the country on Monday, seemingly a snub to Blinken.

    Turkish police on Sunday used tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters who had gathered outside an air base housing US forces in southeastern Turkey.

    Israel’s unrelenting attacks on Gaza have killed some 10,000 people, half of them children, according to the besieged enclave’s health ministry.

    Their military operation began after Hamas fighters killed more than 1,400 people and took more than 240 hostages to the Gaza Strip, say the Israeli authorities.

    Fighting threatens to have significant repercussions on relations between Washington and Turkey, both a member of NATO and involved in conflicts in the Middle East.

    A number of issues are blighting the relationship between the US and Turkey outside of the Israel-Hamas war.

    Washington is growing frustrated at the Turkish Parliament’s delays in giving the green light to Sweden’s membership in NATO, which is currently blocked.

    The United States has also increased sanctions on Turkish individuals and companies suspected of helping Russia evade sanctions and import equipment used in its war against Ukraine.

    Ankara is unhappy the US Congress is delaying a deal backed by President Joe Biden, which aims to modernize the Turkish Air Force with F-16 fighter jets.

    Turkey has also long expressed reservations about US support for Kurdish forces in Syria, who have led the fight against the Islamic State.

    Ankara considers the Kurdish fighters affiliates of the PKK, which has fought a decades-long struggle for autonomy against the Turkish state.

    Turkey has intensified airstrikes against Kurdish armed groups in Syria and Iraq in retaliation for an attack in Ankara in October, claimed by the PKK.

    Blinken’s visit follows a whirlwind tour of the Middle East, during which he traveled to the West Bank for talks on Sunday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

    The top US diplomat has faced a chorus of Arab calls for a ceasefire.

    Israel says it could agree to a humanitarian pause to allow additional aid to arrive, but only on the condition that Hamas releases all of its hostages.

    Blinken has supported the Israeli position, while trying to assure regional powers Washington wanted to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population in Gaza.

    On Sunday, Erdogan said his country was “working behind the scenes” with regional allies to ensure an uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

    But he cut all contact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he was “no longer someone we can talk to. We have given up on him.”

    The Turkish president also accused the West of applying double standards in the region and losing its moral authority.

    “Those who shed crocodile tears for the civilians killed during the war between Ukraine and Russia are today quietly witnessing the murder of thousands of innocent children,” Erdogan said at the end of October. — Euronews

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