Turkish PM Defies U.S. on Gaza Trip

ANKARA (Reuters) -

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will not reschedule his trip to the Palestinian Gaza strip, he said on Tuesday, despite a request to do so from the United States that had irked Ankara.

During a visit to Turkey on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Erdogan to delay his visit to avoid endangering U.S. efforts to revive Ankara’s ties with Israel and Middle East peace talks.

Erdogan, who has long talked of his desire to visit the Hamas enclave, said last week he planned to go to Gaza following an official visit to the United States in May.

“Delaying my trip (to Gaza) is out of question. As I said in the past the Gaza trip will take place after my trip to the United States. There will be no delay,” Erdogan told reporters, according to state media.

Erdogan said his trip to Washington would be on May 14, while Turkish officials said earlier this month that his planned visit to Washington to meet Obama was on May 16.