Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for talks ahead of the United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on Tuesday to discuss Middle East issues, diplomatic sources said.
The top diplomats held closed-door discussions, about which no further information was shared by Turkish sources. But the Russian Foreign Ministry said on the Telegram messaging app on Tuesday that the meeting focused on the Gaza Strip, Syria and “the tense situation” in the Red Sea.
Fidan and Lavrov also discussed energy issues as well as “upcoming bilateral contacts.”
In December, the Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin may visit Türkiye in early 2024.
Fidan himself is set to address the Security Council meeting and is likely to hold other bilateral meetings with other counterparts later in the day.
Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Oct. 7, killing at least 25,295 Palestinians and injuring 63,000. Nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.
The Israeli offensive has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, the U.N. says.
Israel in recent days carried out reportedly the most intense bombardment in southern Gaza since the war began in October, prompting calls from Washington to protect innocent people in hospitals, medical staff and patients.
According to the U.N. agenda, the Security Council is to discuss “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.”
Lavrov said on Thursday he will propose “collective efforts” at the meeting to solve the Middle East crisis.
Türkiye has been a staunch defender of the Palestinian cause and continues diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.
Ankara’s stand with Palestine led to a deterioration of ties with Israel, though the two sides took mutual steps for a thaw right before the start of the new round of conflict on Oct. 7.
Relations with Western allies who hold a definite pro-Israel stance too went into a downward spiral again.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has since declared Israel “a terrorist state” for its indiscriminate bombing and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the “Butcher of Gaza.”
He has also described Hamas as a “liberation organization” much to the chagrin of the United States and the EU, who classify it as a terrorist organization.
Source: Daily Sabah