Obama’s Mideast Envoy Skirts Turkey on Regional Tour

ANKARA (Combined Sources)–President Barack Obama’s Special Envoy to the Middle East has postponed a planned visit to Turkey, citing ‘severe technical reasons’ for bypassing the key NATO country along his regional tour.

"The way the schedule was very tight, we have tried very hard to make a trip to Turkey fit in, and it just could not for technical reasons," US Embassy Spokesperson Kathryn Schalow told the Anatolian News Agency Friday.

Mitchell, who is still in the region will, however, move ahead with scheduled trips to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and West Bank.

His visit was going to mark the first official encounter between Ankara and Washington since President Obama took office on Jan. 20.

The news comes a day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan verbally sparred with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, blasting his Israeli counterpart with a lengthy condemnation of Israel’s human rights violations in the Gaza Strip. It also follows months of diplomatic posturing vis-a-vis the United States as Turkish officials have consistently been trying to pressure the new US administration on the Armenian issue, warning that its recognition of the Armenian Genocide will be met with negative consequences by an angered Turkey.

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