Turkish PM delays Gaza visit until after Obama meeting

Erdogan reportedly decides to postpone his planned trip to Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after meeting with Kerry • Turkish official: U.S. will try to rekindle Israeli-Turkish military cooperation during Hagel's upcoming Middle East visit.

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 deaths of nine Turkish activists aboard a protest boat in May 2010, 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 on 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.

Meanwhile, Kerry and U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague met in London on Wednesday with Syrian opposition officials. Kerry and Hague agreed to attend the "Friends of Syria" meeting in Turkey on April 20 and to continue discussions on finding additional ways to aid the Syrian opposition.

According to The Washington Post, Syrian opposition officials pleaded with Kerry for more aid and weapons from the U.S.

U.S. officials told The Washington Post on Wednesday that Obama was moving toward final approval of battlefield support for the Syrian opposition, including nonlethal items such as body armor and night vision goggles.


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