After four intense days of diplomatic meetings in the Middle East on the occasion of the war between Israel and HamasUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, Hakan Fidan. This is the second tour in a month for Blinken, who arrived in the region in the hope that the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahugave in to a “humanitarian pause” in Gaza. In his first visit to Turkey since the start of the war, Blinken was received by a crowd in front of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, carrying Turkish and Palestinian flags and signs against the United States and Israel. “Murderer Blinken, get out of Türkiye!”shouted a group of students who tried to march towards the official building without success, as they were quickly dispersed by the Turkish police. The protest was organized by the Turkish Youth Union (TGB), a secular ultranationalist organization, according to the official Turkish Anadolu agency.
Blinken’s visit seeks to reduce the escalation of tensions in the region. Although Ankara has offered to mediate with other leaders in the area, it has shown a growing rejection of Israel’s actions in Gaza and the unconditional support of the United States for the Israeli Army. Ankara, for its part, has been trying to transfer more than a thousand cancer patients from the Gaza Strip to Turkey for days, in a agreement with Egypt which still does not have the green light from the Israeli authorities. “We discussed efforts to significantly expand humanitarian assistance to people in need and prevent the conflict from spreading to other regions,” Blinken told American reporters before departing Ankara. “We are working to get more humanitarian assistance into Gaza. I think we will see in the coming days that the aid can be expanded,” she said.
On the eve of Blinken’s visit, the Turkish Islamist NGO IHH organized a march to the Incirlik air base, owned by Turkey but used by US forces due to its strategic position. More than 2,000 protesters responded to the IHH call to protest the “massacre in Gaza” against Israel and the United States. Turkish police dispersed several attempts to access the base with tear gas and water cannons. On the same day, more than a thousand people protested in front of the US embassy in Ankara against Blinken’s imminent arrival. The visit of the head of American diplomacy in Ankara was scheduled for Sunday, but was delayed at the last minute due to two surprise meetings by Blinken in West Bank y Bagdad.
Although Turkey initially condemned the Hamas attack in Israel – which caused the death of 1,400 people – Ankara has toughened its discourse against Netanyahu’s government as the protests have intensified. bombings in the Gaza Strip. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led a massive protest in Istanbul to condemn the Israeli massacre in Gaza, in which he called Israel an “occupier” and accused it of acting as an “war criminal”. Erdogan has repeatedly criticized the United States for supporting the Israeli offensive, which he has compared to “genocide.”
Turkey announced this weekend that it would recall its ambassador to Israel for consultations and would break diplomatic relations with Netanyahu, whom Erdogan blames for the war in Gaza. Ankara and Tel Aviv resumed diplomatic contact last year after a decade of estrangement.