Middle East

Kerry to visit Turkey after Israeli apology

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se, not pictured, at the State Department in Washington, on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

ISTANBUL: US Secretary of State John Kerry will pay a brief visit to Turkey on Sunday, following a US-brokered Israeli apology for a deadly flotilla raid in 2010, a Turkish foreign ministry diplomat said.

"He is expected to be in Istanbul on Sunday for a short visit," the diplomat told AFP on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Syrian crisis, as well as reconciliation efforts between rival Palestinian factions are expected to top the agenda of talks between Kerry and Turkey's leaders.

The top US diplomat's latest trip comes after Israel apologised to Turkey on March 23 for the deaths of nine Turkish activists in a botched pre-dawn raid by Israeli commandoes, ending a near three-year rift in a breakthrough brokered by US President Barack Obama.

But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suggested the full normalisation of ties including the exchange of ambassadors depends on the Jewish state.

Kerry last visited Turkey on March 1 amid a row over comments by Erdogan branding Zionism a "crime against humanity", remarks the Turkish premier later said had been misunderstood.

In Ankara, Kerry expressed Washington's hopes to see the two allies reconcile and work together.

Erdogan is expected to pay a visit to the United States for talks with Obama on May 16, according to local media.





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