Turkish FM, Blinken discuss Gaza ahead of NATO summit in Brussels

Turkish FM, Blinken discuss Gaza ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels

Brussels, The Gulf Observer: Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met to discuss recent developments in Gaza ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on X.

The talks come amid a humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza, just extended from four days to six, to enable prisoner exchanges and supplying much-needed aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

The pause is in Israel’s massive military offensive in Palestine’s Gaza following a cross-border attack by Palestinian group Hamas on October 7.

It has since killed over 15,000 Palestinians, including 6,150 children and 4,000 women, according to health authorities in the besieged enclave. The official Israeli death toll stands at 1,200.

Fidan and Blinken also discussed Sweden’s NATO membership process, the ministry said on Tuesday.

On November 16, the Turkish parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee postponed consideration of a measure approving Sweden’s NATO accession.

To join the alliance, which Sweden sought after Russia attacked nearby Ukraine, Stockholm has to have the approval of all current NATO members, including Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years.

Türkiye has been pushing Swedish authorities to take concrete steps to alleviate Ankara’s security concerns, especially regarding support for the PKK terrorist organisation.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US, and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

The NATO foreign ministers are gathering at NATO headquarters to discuss the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, as well as growing strategic competition.

Ahead of the NATO summit, Turkish top diplomat had his first meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Turkish Foreign Minister also met with Igli Hasani, Minister of European and Foreign Affairs of Albania, at the Permanent Representation of Türkiye to NATO.

In the meeting, the Ministers confirmed their determination to strengthen cooperation between Türkiye and Albania in all fields. They also exchanged views on the latest developments regarding the Balkan region and Gaza.

Also meeting with Margus Tsahkna, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Hakan Fidan discussed bilateral relations, recent developments in Ukraine including the current developments regarding the alliance.