Commitment to peace stands firm .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 - As the crisis in Gaza continues, Turkish prime minister Erdoğan calls the United Nations to push Israel to end the violence, while the presidents of Turkey and the US discuss ways to stop the bloodshed in Gaza and to reach a cease-fire deal.

As the crisis in Gaza escalates with rising civilian deaths and calls for a cease-fire being ignored by Israel, Turkey is not letting up in its diplomatic efforts to bring about an end to the war.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday said the United Nations and the Security Council should assume a stance and push Israel to abide by a recent U.N. resolution aiming to end the violence in Gaza.

"Turkey is continuing its initiatives to end the embargo and dispatch basic humanitarian needs to Gaza," Erdoğan said during a meeting in Ankara. He said his special advisor Ahmet Davutoğlu was attending the meeting in Cairo where mediators are trying to put together a package to end a more than two-week-old Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip and also Foreign Minister Ali Babacan continued shuttle diplomacy to find a solution to the conflict.

Meanwhile, the presidents of Turkey and the United States, Abdullah Gül and George W. Bush, exchanged views on ways to stop the bloodshed in Gaza and to reach a cease-fire deal between the parties, during a telephone conversation over the weekend.

Bush told Gül that a lasting ceasefire in Gaza required a halt to rocket fire and arms smuggling by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a statement. "President Bush emphasized the importance of bringing an end to rocket-fire against Israel and preventing arms smuggling into Gaza as the basis for a durable ceasefire," Johndroe said in describing the conversation with Gul, whose Islamist party dominates the Turkish parliament. "The president welcomed Turkey's support for the Egyptian-French mediation efforts" designed to halt the violence in Gaza, the statement said.

Possibility of Turkish troops
According to Turkish diplomats, Bush also reminded Gül of Turkey’s fight against terror and the Turkish military’s operations into northern Iraq, where outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, headquarters and training camps are located. Gül dismissed the comparison between Turkey’s and Israel’s military operations and emphasized that "no any civilians were hit during Turkey’s operations."

In order to crack down the terrorists, Turkish air and land forces conducted several operations into northern Iraq thanks to the intelligence provided by the US military.

Meanwhile, Turkish press argued Sunday that if the France-Egypt brokered peace plan was approved by Hamas and Israel, Turkish and French troops would be deployed in the Refah crossing to Egypt and Kerem Shalom crossing to Israel.

If the plan was approved and the Turkish government accepted the proposal, Turkish troops could return to Gaza 92 years after the Ottoman Empire withdraw from the region it ruled for nearly 400 years.

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan earlier said Turkey was warm to sending a monitoring group to the region but it was not sure whether he meant military force or a civilian one. To send troops abroad, the government should be authorized by Parliament.