Turkey says it’s ready to help de-escalate Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan held calls on Saturday with his regional counterparts to discuss the fighting between Israel and Palestinians, a foreign ministry source said, as Ankara said it stood ready to help de-escalate the situation.

The source said Fidan discussed the conflict with his Saudi, Qatari, Iranian, Palestinian and Egyptian counterparts, but did not provide any further details. The source later said Fidan had also discussed the situation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a call.

Earlier, Turkey’s foreign ministry repeated President Tayyip Erdogan’s call for restraint and strongly condemned the loss of civilian lives.

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“We emphasize that acts of violence and escalation linked to these benefit nobody,” the ministry said. It also urged citizens in the region to remain in secure, indoor locations.

“Turkey is always ready to provide any help it can to ensure that the developments in question do not escalate further and get taken under control without spreading to a wider region,” it added. “In this regard, we continue our intensive contacts with the relevant parties.”

The conflict comes as Turkey, which has backed Palestinians in the past and supported a two-state solution to the conflict, works to normalise ties with Israel after years of animosity.

The former allies mutually expelled ambassadors in 2018 and have often traded barbs on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But a regional charm offensive launched by Ankara in 2020 prompted a thaw and subsequently led to the re-appointment of envoys.

Israel had also long complained of Ankara’s hosting of leaders of Hamas, which Turkey does not view as a terrorist group.

Prior to Saturday’s violence, Erdogan had said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may visit Turkey in October-November to discuss cooperation on energy, while Turkey’s energy minister said he planned to visit Israel in November.

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