Turkey's Erdogan to use historic NATO summit to discuss Gaza

Turkey's Erdogan to use historic NATO summit to discuss Gaza
Turkey's President Erdogan heads to Washington for the NATO summit to urge leaders to stop Israel's war on Gaza.
4 min read
09 July, 2024
Erdogan's comments came as Israel and US officials headed to Qatar for indirect talks with Hamas over a possible truce deal to end the war on Gaza [Getty]

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan headed on Tuesday to Washington to attend NATO's 75th anniversary summit in the US capital, where he is expected to urge heads of states to stop Israel's war on Gaza.

"During NATO leaders summit, we will raise massacres of the Palestinian people in Gaza, where our shared values are going through sincerity test," said Erdogan during a press conference ahead of his departure for Washington.

"We will emphasize that the international community has failed to stop Israel and that the global conscience will not be able to breathe a sigh of relief until a just and lasting peace is established in Palestine," said Erdogan, adding that he will also discuss Ankara's assessments during bilateral meetings with the leaders of the allied countries.

The Turkish president added that he was "patiently" following the Gaza cease-fire talks in Doha. "Hopefully, we'll get the expected results soon," he said.

His comments came as Israeli and US officials were due to in Qatar for indirect talks with Hamas over a possible truce deal to end the war on Gaza, where over 38,000 people have been killed since last OCtober.

US President Joe Biden is hosting leaders of the 32-nation transatlantic alliance for three days from Tuesday, as well as the leaders of Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

The gathering comes in the shadow of setbacks in Ukraine and electoral headwinds on both sides of the Atlantic.

President Biden is fighting for his political life after a disastrous debate against his Republican presidential rival, NATO sceptic Donald Trump.

The star of the summit is set to be Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is looking for firm signs of support even though NATO will not be extending his country an invitation to join the bloc.

Who will be there?

The summit will see much focus on the following leaders:

  • Joe Biden: The US president faces a critical week as he tries to shore up an election campaign that has been on defense since a shaky June 27 debate against Trump that raised questions about Biden's ability to govern for another 4-1/2 years. Biden, 81, will hold talks with British Prime Minister Keir Starmer and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, among others, amid rising pressure from US congressional Democrats calling on him to end his re-election bid.
  • Volodymyr Zelensky: In addition to drumming up more support to help repel Russia's invasion, the Ukrainian president is expected to push for a quicker path to entering NATO than the alliance has so far been willing to offer.
  • Keir Starmer: The new British prime minister will make his first international trip after leading the Labour Party to a landslide victory in Britain's parliamentary election last week. Starmer has pledged to maintain the previous Conservative government's approach towards Ukraine by continuing to support Kyiv in its war against Russia's invasion.
  • Emmanuel Macron: The French president will be in Washington days after losing much of his political power in a snap election. The decision to call the election stunned Macron's close allies and opponents alike, and some in his own camp denounced the move as reckless. After its second round of voting on Sunday, France faces a chaotic hung parliament.
  • Viktor Orban: The Hungarian prime minister, a critic of Western military aid to Ukraine and the EU leader with the warmest relations with Russia and China, will be in Washington after a surprise visit to Beijing on Monday to discuss a potential Ukraine peace deal. Hungary assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union last week, and Orban has since visited Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin. His Russia trip angered other European leaders, who said he had no EU mandate to push for a ceasefire in Ukraine.
  • Ulf Kristersson: The Swedish prime minister will represent his country at its first NATO summit since joining the alliance in March. Ahead of his trip, Kristersson said Sweden fully supports the idea that Ukraine's future lies in NATO.
  • Yoon Suk Yeol: The South Korean president, who has pushed for greater security ties with Europe and other US allies to deter North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, plans to discuss the threat Pyongyang poses to Europe by deepening military ties with Russia.
  • Justin Trudeau: The Canadian prime minister, under pressure as his Liberal government trails the main opposition party in polls, could face renewed questions about Ottawa's defense spending lagging the 2% of gross domestic product agreed by NATO allies. In a policy update this year, the Trudeau government pledged billions more for the armed forces to increase military spending from 1.4% of GDP to 1.76% by 2030.
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