Erdoğan intensifies peace talks for Mideast .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ANKARA - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continued his Middle East tour with a visit to Egypt, in search of a way to stop Israeli bombing of the Gaza strip that has killed almost 400 Palestinians since last Saturday.

Lifting the embargo on Gaza is another main point of his trip, Erdoğan said yesterday at a Justice and Development Party, or AKP, gathering in Ankara.
"Palestine and Gaza people, our brothers, can only be saved from their isolation when these embargoes are lifted," Erdoğan said before his flight to Egypt. "The truce of June 2008 included provisions for ending the embargo, but unfortunately they were not implemented," PM noted. Erdoğan was in Syria and Jordan in the first leg of his Middle East tour and met with leaders of both countries, as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
He skipped Israel on his regional tour. In Sharm el-Sheikh, he revealed a two-phase plan to end the tensions in the Gaza Strip: urging the foreign ministers of the Arab League to take the initiative for an immediate cease-fire and securing reconciliation between the Palestinians, namely between al-Fatah and Hamas.
Erdoğan said Turkey was ready to mediate between Hamas and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s al-Fatah and heralded that his chief advisor Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu met with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. A Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review that contacts with Hamas would continue as part of the policy to keep dialogue channels open with all parties concerned.
"It would be misleading to expect Hamas to evaporate overnight," said the diplomat. He stressed Hamas must be included in the political process and Ankara conveyed to Hamas a message "to unite and declare a cease-fire."
For his part, Babacan will attend the foreign ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC, on Saturday. After the Israeli offensive in Gaza, he called the Turkish secretary-general of OIC, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, for an extraordinary meeting of the Islamic organization.
Security Council to convene Monday
Ankara expressed intention that it was ready to take the Palestinian issue, in cooperation with Cairo, to the U.N. Security Council as indicated by Erdoğan following a meeting with Mobarak. Turkey has started a two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.
Arab foreign ministers agreed Wednesday to send a delegation headed by Saudi Arabia to lobby the Security Council to issue a resolution urging a cease-fire. The council held an emergency session Wednesday to discuss a proposed Arab resolution to end the violence but adjourned without a vote. Western delegates described the Arab-drafted resolution as unbalanced. The Security Council will re-convene Monday.
Turkey has stepped up diplomacy in the wake of the Israeli airstrikes and contacted leaders in the region. President Abdullah Gül held a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, to discuss the situation in Gaza, said a written statement released by the Presidency.
The president expressed worries over the political and humanitarian situation, called for an immediate cease-fire and highlighted the importance of supplying humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, read the statement. Israel expressed its reservations to the Turks over Erdoğan’s comments through the normal diplomatic channels.