Obama to meet with Turkey's Erdogan, Netanyahu in NY

White House says that US president will discuss Israel with Turkish prime minister; meetings to take place on sidelines of UN General Assembly.

September 16, 2011 19:20
1 minute read.
US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Young)

US President Barack Obama will meet with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week and will urge him to repair relations with Israel, the White House said on Friday.

White House National Security Council spokesman Ben Rhodes told reporters that Obama also anticipated a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during the Monday to Wednesday UN gathering.

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Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and halted defense-related trade after Jerusalem confirmed last week it would not apologize for the raid on the Mavi Marmara, in which nine Turks were killed by IDF soldiers when the ship attempted to break Israel's blockade on Gaza.

Turkey and Israel had tried to mend fences before the publication two weeks ago of a UN report that deemed the blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip a legal means to stem the flow of arms to Palestinians but also said Israel had used unreasonable force.

Ankara said it was prepared to escort any future Gaza-bound ship with naval vessels.

Erdoğan said on Thursday Israel could not do whatever it wanted in the Eastern Mediterranean and that Turkish warships could be there at any moment.

Erdogan's comments, made during a visit to Tunisia as part of a tour of Arab countries, were the latest in a war of words between the two regional powers.

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