Share This Page

Kerry asks Turkish leader to delay Gaza trip

| Sunday, April 21, 2013, 10:06 p.m.

ISTANBUL — Secretary of State John Kerry urged Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to delay a planned visit to the Gaza Strip, saying it could jeopardize efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Ending a two-day visit to Istanbul, Kerry told reporters on Sunday that he believed “it would be more helpful (for Erdogan) to wait for the right circumstance. ... We're trying to get off the ground, and we would like to see the parties with as little outside distraction as possible.”

He said this was one of a number of “important reasons” why Erdogan shouldn't go on the trip, and implied that the Turkish leader hadn't made a final decision on the plan.

Kerry met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and other Turkish officials, but didn't see Erdogan.

Both the Israelis and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have voiced unhappiness with Erdogan's plans.

Erdogan has been pushing for Israel to ease its partial embargo on the entry of goods into Gaza, and has announced plans to visit the impoverished seaside zone in the next few weeks.

The move could complicate efforts to begin a rapprochement between Turkey and Israel.

Former allies, they have been estranged since Israeli soldiers killed Turks when a Turkish flotilla sought to breach the naval blockade of Gaza in 2010.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.