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Hamas-Israel Ceasefire Talks: U.S. Secretary Meets Turkish Counterpart

Ankara: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, to discuss negotiations for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which has become a challenge for the Middle East.

Blinken met with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Ankara on Monday morning, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declined to attend the meeting.

Timur Kuran, a professor of public policy at the Qatar Institute for Graduate Studies, told Al Jazeera that Blinken’s primary mission was to buy more time for Israel, and Turkey was aware of this, which explains the cool reception. Blinken’s visit to Turkey comes after a series of meetings with Arab leaders in Iraq, Palestine, and Jordan during the last week.

Arab and Muslim leaders have expressed disappointment with Washington’s support for Israel’s month-long aggression in Gaza, in which over ten thousand people of Gaza have been killed, with more than three-quarters of them being children.

Reporting from Ankara, Al Jazeera’s Resul Sardar suggested that Blinken and Fidan had reached some agreement points regarding the negotiations. He said that the American envoy had tried to exert additional pressure on Turkish authorities and advocated for the release of prisoners. However, Turkey’s stance on this matter was clear: they believe in mutual prisoner release, with Hamas releasing prisoners and Israel releasing Palestinian prisoners.

Turkey also called for an unconditional ceasefire and emphasized the need for an international mechanism to safeguard it, with Ankara acting as a guarantor. However, there have been no reports of Blinken discussing a ceasefire during this meeting. Blinken used the term “humanitarian pause” but the Turkish side conveyed that this was insufficient.

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