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April 11, 2013 9:52 am

Turkish PM Erdogan Delays Gaza Visit Until After Obama Meeting

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he would delay a planned trip to the Gaza Strip until after he meets with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington on May 16.

Earlier this week, Erdogan met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. According to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Kerry advised the Turkish prime minister to reconsider the timing of his planned visit to Gaza.

Following Israel’s apology to Turkey last month over the May 2010 deaths of nine Turkish militants who attacked Israeli soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara vessel, which tried to break Israel’s blockage of Gaza, Erdogan announced his intention to visit the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

A Turkish official said on Wednesday that U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would try to rekindle Israeli-Turkish military cooperation during his upcoming visit to the Middle East. He will be in Israel from April 21-23. Military cooperation between Israel and Turkey suffered following the Gaza flotilla incident and became largely limited to deals that had been signed previously.

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