ANKARA - The new U.S. administration broke its silence over the Davos crisis urging Turkey to fix its strained relations with Israel, while Turkey reiterated its position that a solution to the Middle East issue is impossible without including Hamas. (UPDATED)
The exchange of messages came during the talks that George Mitchell, the Middle East envoy of the U.S. President Barack Obama, hold in his two-day visit to Ankara. Mitchell met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan on Thursday.
Mitchell said Turkey can have a significant influence on the U.S. efforts to reach a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
"As an important democratic nation with strong relations with Israel, (Turkey) has a unique role to play and can have significant influence on our efforts to promote comprehensive peace in the Middle East," he told reporters after his meeting with Erdogan.
Mitchell underlined that "Turkey is an important ally of the U.S." and the Washington administration welcomes Turkey's decision to attend a donors conference on Gaza scheduled on March 2 in Egypt.
"We... look forward to (Turkey’s) leadership as we actively pursue that peace, beginning with a durable ceasefire and with strong efforts to meet the humanitarian needs in Gaza," he added.
During the meeting, diplomatic sources said, Turkey reiterated its stance that a peace agreement cannot be reached without including Hamas in the equation. The Turkish officials stressed that the U.S. should "give up supporting Israel", according to the diplomatic sources.
Turkey urged the U.S. to pursue a balanced diplomacy in the Middle East after "a too pro-Israel approach of the George W. Bush administration," sources added.
The Turkish officials also said that the U.S. involvement in the other Middle East conflicts besides the Israel-Palestine will contribute to the resolution of the issue and the direct talks between Israel and Syria should be encouraged.