Israel-Hamas war: Israeli airstrikes hit 450 targets in Gaza
kicked off difficult talks in Turkey on Monday, as part of an attempt to assuage Ankara over the bombardment of Gaza.
Turkish media showed Blinken shaking hands with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Monday morning. The visit is the latest in and the first trip to Turkey since the conflict between Israel and the group erupted on October 7.
Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by the US, the EU, Israel and Germany among other countries. The Turkish government maintains contacts with Hamas and has been trying to negotiate the release of hostages taken by the group’s militants.
The fighting threatens to have wide-ranging repercussions on US ties with — a NATO member with stakes in conflicts across the region.
Speaking from Istanbul, DW correspondent Dorian Jones said the priority for Blinken’s trip is the “containment of this conflict.” He noted that Turkey could play a key role in preventing the war from spreading further, due to Ankara’s currently good relations with Iran. “Blinken will be looking for talks on how to keep Iran out of this conflict and preventing a major, regional war,” Jones said.
Washington’s top diplomat will also need to do some smoothing over with NATO-ally Turkey. “Blinken could face a frosty reception given that there is a lot of frustration in Ankara that Blinken had appeared to be sidelining Turkey,” Jones said.
The talks come as on Sunday, as hundreds of people at a pro-Palestinian protest marched to an air base housing US troops.
Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the demonstrators.
On Sunday, Blinken made a surprise visit to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who joined international calls for an immediate cease-fire.
The US top diplomat traveled under tight security through the city of Ramallah in an armored motorcade.
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