Middle East

Turkish FM flying to Qatar to seek Gaza truce

Smoke from an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

ANKARA: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu canceled a scheduled trip to France and flew to Qatar Friday to help efforts for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, a Turkish official said.

The decision comes after Davutoglu held a "teleconference with his counterparts from the United States and Qatar yesterday night (Thursday) and also spoke separately with the Palestinian groups," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"The minister made an abrupt decision to fly to Qatar to contribute to efforts for an immediate cease-fire."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday reached out to Hamas allies Turkey and Qatar to push for a cease-fire. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal is based in Doha.

Turkey, a staunch critic of the Israeli assaults in Gaza, is pressing for involvement of Hamas in any negotiations for a cease-fire.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who presents himself as a rare global Muslim leader who stands up for Palestinian rights, has accused Israel of carrying out a "genocide" in Gaza.

His rhetoric sparked condemnation from Israel and severe criticism from Turkey's NATO ally the United States.





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