Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday evening in Crete.
Middle East, the eternal conflict
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Middle East, the eternal conflict
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In Istanbul, the interview between MM. Blinken and Erdogan, in one of the presidential residences on the Bosphorus, lasted more than 75 minutes, according to American diplomatic sources, after a first meeting between Mr. Blinken and his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan.
The latter, according to a diplomatic source, pleaded for an immediate ceasefire in the Palestinian territory of Gaza.
Mr. Erdogan, who denounces the United States' support for Israel and describes the latter as a terrorist state, had shunned Mr. Blinken's previous visit to Ankara last November.
Exchanges with the Turkish president focused on the situation in Gaza and Sweden's entry into NATO, according to a State Department statement .
Mr. Blinken insisted to his host on the need to prevent the conflict from spreading, to increase humanitarian aid, to reduce the number of civilian victims, to work towards a lasting regional peace and moving towards the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Moreover, according to the brief statement, the American official called for finalizing [the process] of Sweden's accession to NATO, which still lacks the agreement of Turkey and Hungary.
After this brief stopover in Crete, Mr. Blinken must travel to Jordan then to Israel, the occupied West Bank and other countries in the region to try to avoid a regional conflagration three months after the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.
Mr. Blinken wants to call on his interlocutors to use their communication channels with Iran to make it clear that the United States is not seeking escalation but that it will defend its interests when they are attacked, according to a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In Syria and Iraq, attacks on US military bases have increased in number in recent weeks and Yemen's Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, are increasing attacks in the Red Sea against commercial shipping in order to target commercial shipping. obstruct international maritime traffic in support of the Palestinians.
Mr. Erdogan is one of the most vocal critics of Israel, which has vowed to destroy Hamas in retaliation for the unprecedented attack carried out by this Palestinian Islamist movement on Israeli soil on October 7, which left some 1,140 dead. Israelis, mainly civilians.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Istanbul on January 6, 2024.
Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip have left 22,600 dead, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas Health Ministry.
The President Turkey considers Hamas to be a group of liberators. After the bloody attack of October 7, he nevertheless discreetly asked political leaders of the movement established in Turkey to leave the country.
The US State Department on Friday promised up to $10 million in exchange for information about five Hamas financial facilitators, three of whom reside in Turkey, according to Washington.
Regarding Sweden's accession to NATO, the other reason for Antony Blinken's Turkish step, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish Parliament has took a first step at the end of December. However, Parliament must still approve the protocol by a majority to put an end to twenty months of suspense.
Ankara criticizes Stockholm for alleged leniency towards Kurdish militants who have taken refuge on its soil and uses its blocking power to obtain the delivery of 40 American F-16 fighter planes and modernization equipment for those it already has.
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The US government is not hostile to the sale of F-16s, but Congress has opposed it so far, according to a source at the State Department, conditioning it on Sweden's entry into NATO.
Due to recurring tensions between Turkey and Greece – also a member of NATO –, Athens is worried about these deliveries, even if relations between these two neighbors have warmed up recently, hence the brief stopover by Mr. Blinken on Saturday evening in Crete to reassure the allies.