Erdogan closes door to Blinken in Turkey as Ankara reiterates ‘immediate and complete’ ceasefire in Gaza

Recep Erdogan, President of Turkey. [File Photo]

Antony Blinken had hoped for a meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his regional mini-tour. However, as Turkish President meet him, Blinken finally left after a few hours in Turkey, contenting himself with foreign minister of Turkey Hakan Fidan.

According to a local diplomatic source quoted by Le Figaro, the latter took the opportunity to remind his interlocutor of Ankara’s unconditional line: an “immediate” and “complete” ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, in order to prevent Israel “from targeting civilians and moving people to Gaza”.

Before flying to his next destination, Asia, the American Secretary of State promised an extension, “in the coming days”, of humanitarian aid to Gazans. “We are working very actively to get more humanitarian aid (…) and I think you will see in the coming days that the aid can be extended significantly,” he said.

Knowing about Blinken’s visit, Erdogan did not change his plans and went on a trip around the country. “Those who shed crocodile tears for the civilians killed in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia are now quietly witnessing the murder of thousands of innocent children,” the publication quotes Erdogan as saying.

“Blinken’s main mission was to buy more time [for Israel],” Tamer Qarmout, professor in public policy at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, told Al Jazeera. “And the Turks know this. That’s why he got this cold reception.”

Blinken’s trip to Turkey follows on the heels of strained meetings with Arab leaders in Iraq, Palestine, and Jordan over the weekend.

Arab and Muslim leaders have expressed frustration over Washington’s staunch backing of Israel as it continues its monthlong assault on Gaza, killing more than 10,000 people, more than a third of them children.

Washington has supported the need for a “humanitarian pause” to the fighting, but has stopped short of joining much of the world in calling for a full truce.

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