Turkey condemned Thursday the ongoing violence between Israel and the Palestinians and pledged to sustain efforts for the revival of the Middle East peace process.
"We strongly condemn the recent incidents of violence. We once again repeat that the escalation of violence will not help the peace," a foreign ministry statement said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem met with Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami in Jerusalem Wednesday and traveled on to Cairo for unscheduled talks with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and international cooperation minister Nabil Shaath.
"Our primary goal is ending the violence and then putting the peace process back on track. Turkey's efforts towards this end will continue," the statement said.
Ankara has denied press reports that it had prepared a "secret" plan to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
Predominantly Muslim Turkey has been Israel's best regional ally since 1996, when the two countries signed a military cooperation deal much to the anger of most Arab nations and Iran.
But Turkey also backs Palestinian demands for statehood and has criticized Israel for using excessive force against the Palestinians.
In a show of solidarity with the Palestinians, Turkey on Wednesday brought to Ankara for medical treatment some 50 Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israeli forces – JERUSALEM (AFP)
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