Turkish PM says to mediate in Middle East

"The trust Turkey has makes it almost obligatory to take on a mediating role," said Erdogan.

Turkish PM says to mediate in Middle East

Turkey will mediate in peace talks in the Middle East, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday before heading to Syria for a one-day visit.

Earlier this week Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said mediators were working to relaunch peace talks between Syria and Israel, but did not identify the mediators.

"The trust Turkey has makes it almost obligatory to take on a mediating role," Erdogan told reporters before leaving for Damascus, where he is due to meet Assad and take part in a business forum.

"I believe the peace diplomacy we carry out will have a positive contribution ... whether in Iraq, between Syria and Israel or between Israel and Palestine."

On Wednesday, a Syrian cabinet minister said Israel had told Turkey it was willing to give back the Golan Heights in return for peace with Syria.

Syrian-Israeli talks collapsed in 2000 over the scope of an Israeli pullout from the Golan Heights, occupied since 1967.

Turkey's AK Party government has stepped up relations with the Middle East and Gulf since coming to power in 2002.

Reuters
Last Mod: 26 Nisan 2008, 12:32
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