Turkey does not need the United States to act as a mediator in resolving the
crisis with Israel, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday, as
reported by AFP.
“We do not need mediation...for Israel in any
way,” AFP quoted Davutoglu as saying during a televised press conference in the
central Turkish province of Konya.
US President Barack Obama will meet
with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at the UN General Assembly in New
York this week and urge him to repair relations with Israel.
anticipated holding a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during the
president’s three-day UN visit that starts late on Monday, White House National
Security Council spokesman Ben Rhodes told reporters.
“We have encouraged
Israel and Turkey, two close friends of the United States, to work to bridge
their differences, so we’ll have an opportunity to discuss those issues,” Rhodes
told a news briefing.
Washington has watched with concern as Turkey’s
relations with Israel began to unravel in late 2008, after Erdogan voiced
outrage at the IDF’s Cast Lead offensive against Hamas in the Gaza
Turkey reacted angrily this month to Netanyahu’s refusal to
apologize for the Israel Navy raid on a Gazabound aid flotilla that killed nine
Turkish men in May 2010.
After the release of the UN’s Palmer Report that
said Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip was legal, Erdogan’s government
expelled Israel’s ambassador, froze military cooperation and warned that the
Turkish navy could escort future flotillas – raising the prospect of
confrontation between NATO-member Turkey and the Jewish state.
kept up a stream of harsh rhetoric on Israel, using a tour of Arab states last
week to support a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations and
dismissing Israel as a spoiled client of the West.
The two countries
previously had worked closely together on military cooperation and intelligence
sharing, as both had sought reliable partners in a volatile
The meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly is
expected to give Obama and Erdogan the chance to compare notes on Israel as well
as on the broader political turmoil across the Arab world and especially in
Syria, Turkey’s immediate neighbor.
“Turkey has been a close partner of
ours on issues related to the Arab Spring and I anticipate the two leaders will
talk about events in Syria, where we share great concerns with the Turks about
the actions of President Assad,” Rhodes said.