Turkey in shuttle diplomacy .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 - Officials say there are 'positive signs' a cease-fire can be achieved between Israeli and Palestinian officials and that the talks of the Turkish delegation appointed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have made significant contributions to the process.

The prime minister’s special envoy traveled to Syria for a second time since last week in efforts toward forging a cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians. Turkish officials are optimistic about chances for a truce, reports say.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit Turkey on Friday as part of a regional tour, diplomatic sources said. He will hold talks with the president, prime minister and foreign minister.

Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu, who holds the rank of an ambassador, met with Syrian officials and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Damascus yesterday. Accompanied by a delegation from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Davutoğlu was expected to return home Sunday night, but due to developments in Egypt, he traveled to Damascus and after wrapping up talks returned to Cairo for further meetings with Egyptian and Palestinian officials.

Visit to Israel not clear
It was not clear whether Turkish officials would travel to Israel.

Without elaborating further, officials told the Anatolia news agency that there were positive signs a cease-fire could be achieved between the parties involved and that the contacts of the Turkish delegation appointed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had made significant contributions to the process.

If the France-Egypt brokered peace plan is approved by Hamas and Israel, Turkish and French troops will be deployed to the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian-Gaza border and Kerem Shalom crossing, news reports said over the weekend. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan earlier called for the establishment of an international monitoring group to establish a cease-fire and said Turkey would not shy away from contributing to such a mission if it was asked to do so.

Meanwhile, Palestinian ambassador to Ankara, Nabil Maaruf, met with the president of the Turkish Red Crescent Society yesterday to discuss Turkey's aid to the Palestinians.

Maaruf said the situation in Gaza was getting more and more difficult each passing day and said that when the new president of the United States, Barack Obama, took office he must produce a solution and bring a regional and international dimension to the problem.

The ambassador said negotiations were underway for when Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza and how the borders would be controlled, hoping that everything would become clear and finalized by the end of this month.

Tekin Küçükali, president of the Red Crescent Society, gave the ambassador a list of the pharmaceutical products sent by Turkey to the Palestinians. Turkey's five aid trucks reached the border yesterday, while 15 trucks will set out today, he said.

Almost $2 million in magnetic resonance, or MR, tomography and ultrasound devices donated to the Red Crescent Society were packed and ready to be dispatched to Gaza, said Küçükali, adding that preparations to open a field hospital in Egypt were finalized and the hospital would start serving when a positive answer came from the Egyptians.

He said an official from a company that can provide ambulances and planes went to Israel yesterday. "We concluded a deal (with the company). If they can make a deal with Israel also, we will help Palestinians receive treatment in Turkey," he said.