Davutoglu: We don’t need US help for Israel crisis

Obama to discuss Israel this week with Turkey’s Erdogan at UN General Assembly in New York.

September 18, 2011 03:54
2 minute read.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Davutoglu 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Osman Orsal)

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.

Obama also 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 Strip.

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.

Erdogan 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 neighborhood.

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.

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