Saturday, December 2, 2023

Turkey warns US about ‘tarnished reputation’: Report

Ankara has told Washington that its stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict has both tarnished its reputation and put the entire world community in a tough spot, Turkish Daily Hurriyet reported on Tuesday.

According to the Turkish daily, Ankara conveyed that message during a meeting between Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, which concerned the current crisis in the Middle East.

The sit-down came amid heightened tensions between Turkey and Israel, Washington’s key ally in the region, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently accusing Tel Aviv of “war crimes” in Gaza and denouncing its ground assault as “an open, vicious massacre”.

Israel maintains that it has no intention of harming the civilian population in the Palestinian enclave, stressing that its main objective is to defeat Hamas, which launched a surprise attack on October 7.

The newspaper claimed that Fidan and his delegation “clearly explained” to Blinken what was happening in Gaza, and that the US vow to stand by Israel while refusing to call for a ceasefire, was “putting everyone in trouble”.

“You are also putting your own image in trouble because you are seen as the patron of the crimes committed by Israel,” the delegation reportedly said.

Following the meeting, the two sides did not issue a joint statement or hold a joint press conference. Speaking to reporters, however, Blinken stated that he had a very “productive” conversation with Fidan, including about the need to “significantly expand humanitarian assistance” to Gaza and avoid escalating the conflict.

His remarks came after US President Joe Biden called for a humanitarian “pause” in hostilities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later signaled that his government was open to “little pauses” in the fighting.

After Hamas attacked Israel last month, the latter responded with air and missile strikes on Gaza while announcing a “complete siege” of the enclave. To date, the fighting has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 Palestinians, and more than 1,400 Israelis.

Meanwhile, Politico reported on Monday that a group of low- and mid-level US diplomats had urged the Biden administration to condemn Israel’s bombing of civilians and demand a ceasefire. They reportedly argued that failure to do so “contributes to regional public perceptions that the United States is a biased and dishonest actor”.

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