Blinken Wraps Up Frantic Mideast Tour With Tepid, If Any, Support For Pauses In Gaza Fighting

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was wrapping up a grueling Middle East diplomatic tour on Monday in Turkey after only limited success in his furious efforts to forge a regional consensus on how best to ease civilian suffering in Gaza as Israel intensifies its war against Hamas.

Blinken met in the Turkish capital of Ankara with Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan after a frantic weekend of travel that took him from Israel to Jordan, the occupied West Bank, Cyprus and Iraq to build support for the Biden administration’s proposal for “humanitarian pauses” to Israel’s relentless military campaign in Gaza.

Blinken’s shuttle diplomacy came as Israeli troops surrounded Gaza City and cut off the northern part of the besieged Hamas-ruled territory. Troops are expected to enter the city Monday or Tuesday, and are likely to face militants fighting street by street using a vast network of tunnels. Casualties will likely rise on both sides in the month-old war, which has already killed more than 9,700 Palestinians.

The top U.S. diplomat hopes that pauses in the war would allow for a surge of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the release of hostages captured by Hamas during the militants’ deadly Oct. 7 incursion into southern Israel that killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians — while also preventing the conflict from spreading regionally.

Neither Blinken nor Fidan spoke as they posed for photographers ahead of their formal talks in Ankara. The top U.S. diplomat was not going to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has been highly critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and an outlier among NATO allies in not expressing full support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

Outside the Foreign Ministry, dozens of protesters from an Islamist group carried Turkish and Palestinian flags and held up anti-U.S. and anti-Israel placards as the Blinken-Fidan meeting got underway. Earlier Monday, police dispersed a group of students marching toward the ministry chanting “murderer Blinken, get out of Turkey!”

It was the second day of protests denouncing Blinken’s visit. On Sunday, pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with Turkish riot police outside the U.S.-Turkish Incirlik military air base in the southern city of Adana. Police fired tear gas and water cannon as the demonstrators tried to cross fields to enter the base.

Several hundreds also marched to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara on Sunday, chanting “God is great.”





Kindly share this story:
Kindly share this story:
Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram
Share on facebook
Top News

Related Articles