Erdogan said he would travel on the day of Blinken visit – World ReadingS


ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he will continue his trip to Turkey planned on Monday and therefore it is unlikely that he will meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The top US diplomat will travel to Ankara late Sunday to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan the next day about the Israel-Hamas war.

US officials traveling with Blinken spoke positively about a possible meeting with Erdoğan, who reacted harshly to Israel due to the increasing civilian deaths in its military operation in Gaza.

Israel is trying to crush Hamas militants, who carried out the deadliest attack in the country’s history on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

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Israeli bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip has killed more than 9,770 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

On Sunday, Erdogan once again condemned the “immoral, unscrupulous, despicable massacre” in Gaza.

He added that Blinken will visit the village of Ayder in northeastern Turkey on Monday, where he will hold talks with Fidan in Ankara.

“I will go to Ayder tomorrow,” he said during a televised rally in the Black Sea Coast city of Rize, adding that he wanted to see the “urban transformation” of the remote area.

NATO member Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations and cut off contacts with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in order to protest the Israel-Hamas war.

But Erdogan said on Sunday that Ankara was “working behind the scenes” to stop the bloodshed and ensure humanitarian aid was delivered to Gaza.

Erdoğan said, “Rest assured, we are doing much more than what appears.”

Fidan spoke by phone with his Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts on Sunday, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

The Turkish source said the parties discussed were to “establish an immediate ceasefire” and ensure “the continuous and uninterrupted provision of humanitarian aid”.

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