U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu point toward the Bosporus before a working lunch in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, April 21, 2013. Wrapping up a 24-hour visit to Istanbul, Kerry on Sunday sought to cement and speed up an improvement in relations between Turkey and Israel as well as explore new ways to relaunch Mideast peace efforts. President Barack Obama has made both issues foreign policy priorities for his second term and Kerry was pushing them in meetings with Abbas and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.(AP Photo/Hakan Goktepe, Pool)
ISTANBUL (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday urged Turkey to speed up and cement an American-brokered rapprochement with Israel, and he explored with Palestinian officials new ways to relaunch Mideast peace efforts.
Kerry tried to advance those second-term foreign policy priorities for President Barack Obama in meetings with Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.
Kerry also said he had made it clear to the Turks that a planned trip to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after his May 16 visit to the White House “would be better delayed and that it shouldn’t take place at this point in time.
Both Israel and Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority is based in the West Bank, oppose the Gaza visit.
“We would like to see the parties begin with as little outside distraction as possible. So our sense is that it would be more helpful to wait for the right circumstances,” said Kerry, who Login to read more