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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kerry asks Erdogan not to go to Gaza - will his refusal be considered an insult? (UPDATE)

From the NYT:

Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that he had urged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to put off his visit to Gaza to avoid disrupting efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We have expressed to the prime minister that we really think that it would be better delayed and that it shouldn’t take place at this point in time,” Mr. Kerry said in a news conference here.

“The timing of it is really critical with respect to the peace process that we’re trying to get off the ground,” Mr. Kerry said. “We would like to see the parties begin with as little outside distraction as possible.”
Now, if (and when) Erdogan ignores Kerry, will any of the US media describe it as a "slap in the face" to the US?

It seems that Kerry is already giving Erdogan an out, so as not to make it look like the US is, Allah forbid, demanding something from him. The New York Times didn't offer the entire quote:

“We have expressed to [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] that we really think that [the visit] would be better delayed and shouldn’t take place at this point for many different reasons. Of course the prime minister will make his own decision on that,” Kerry told reporters in Istanbul.
Kerry, already anticipating the refusal, made sure that the issue wouldn't be considered a sticking point.

Which means that the US knows quite well that the request would be spurned.

Which brings up the question - why make such a request to begin with when the only likely result is to make the US look weak?

UPDATE: No surprise - Erdogan is going to Gaza anyway.