Blinken meets Fidan to discuss war in Gaza, bilateral ties
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan engaged in a two-and-a-half-hour discussion in Ankara, primarily centered on the developments in Gaza, amidst ongoing tensions in the Middle East, with expectations for a ceasefire, humanitarian aid, and a lasting solution.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken engaged in high-stakes discussions with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in the Turkish capital Ankara, during his regional tour to address the ongoing Gaza conflict and several other issues.
Secretary Blinken's visit to Ankara encompassed two and a half hours of one-on-one and delegation-level meetings. The central focus of their discussions revolved around the recent developments in Gaza, a topic that has garnered global attention since October 7.
While no joint press conference followed these talks, the possibility of a joint statement remains uncertain at this point, leaving room for separate official statements from both sides.
This meeting occurred amidst the backdrop of persistent tensions between Israel and Hamas, highlighting the fragile situation in the Middle East. Blinken's visit to Ankara had been speculated for the past week, with initial uncertainty stemming from the absence of Turkey in his official travel itinerary. However, U.S. officials noted that the inclusion of additional destinations in such trips was a common practice.
Over the weekend, Turkey officially confirmed Blinken's visit, which was met with both anticipation and curiosity. Notably, Secretary Blinken did not hold a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit.
Blinken's statement, made during his visit to Israel on October 12, where he expressed, "I've come here not only as a Secretary of State but also as a Jew," had stirred a reaction in Turkey and caught President Tayyip Erdoğan's attention.
One of Turkey's paramount concerns is the immediate establishment of a ceasefire due to the increasing loss of civilian lives. In addition to this, Turkey is expected to raise the issues of hostage swaps and the creation of a humanitarian corridor for aid delivery.
Moreover, Ankara has been alarmed throughout the conflict by the potential for the war to spread across the entire region, a concern that has been conveyed both to the parties involved and external powers, including the United States. Currently, this concern appears to have somewhat diminished compared to the early days of the conflict.
Beyond the Gaza issue, Blinken's agenda in Ankara also featured discussions regarding the approval of Sweden's NATO membership within the framework of European Atlantic security. Turkey and Hungary are the last two countries yet to pass the accession protocol for Sweden.