Turkey launches intense diplomacy for truce between Israel, Hamas

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-11-18 10:44:00

Turkey has launched an intense diplomatic campaign including talks with the United States, Russia and Palestinians for an immediate truce between Hamas and Israel.

"Hamas is asking who will be the guarantor of a cease-fire. They said that they are ready to stop attacks if the US provides guarantee," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in the Turkish largest city of Istanbul on Saturday before his departure for his trip to Egypt.

"Israel is breaking the cease-fire in Gaza. We want an immediate cease-fire. Some 40 people have been killed on the Gazan side up until now, but the Israeli government sets the world on fire when three Israeli people died," Erdogan said.

The Turkish Prime Minister had phone conversations with the US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on late Friday, and met Saturday with Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi in Cairo over Israel's assault on Gaza Strip.

Four days of mutual attacks between Israel and Hamas, the drafting of Israeli reserve troops have raised fears of a full ground invasion in an attempt to end militant rocket salvoes, a few of which have crashed near Israel's biggest city Tel Aviv, the first from the territory ever to strike the outskirts of the Holy City.

Israeli air strikes on Gaza on Friday night killed six Palestinians, raising the toll of violence to 30, while a rocket attack also killed three Israelis.

Turkey strongly condemned Israel for a series of strikes on the Gaza Strip, calling on the United Nations to take "principled action" against the aggression and stop Israel's continued attacks immediately.

On Thursday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul called on Washington to warn against the Jewish country, saying everybody expected the US warning on Israel.

Yet, Turkey and the US have butt heads on who is to blame as responsible for mounting attacks, while Ankara accused Israel, but Washington pointed on Hamas.

In a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama "reiterated US support for Israel's right to defend itself," according to the White House.

Washington appealed to Turkey and Egypt to use their influences over Hamas to end rocket attacks on Israeli territories.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had phone conversations with Hamas Political Bureau chief Khaled Mashaal as well as authorities in Gaza on Thursday.

While Turkey pressed on the US to warn and influence Israel to stop its attacks on Gaza Strip, Ankara has kept its distance from the Jewish country, due to strained bilateral relations. Ankara has long stalled ties with Israel administration over an Israeli raid on aid flotilla killing nine Turks which was trying to break blockade on Gaza in 2010.

Turkey conditioned compensation for victims' families, apology and lifting Israeli blockade on Gaza Strip to normalize bilateral relations, but negotiations between the concerned parties failed.

Turkey accused Israel of attacking people of Gaza for the reason of upcoming Israeli elections.

Posted in: Mid-East

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