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Turkey: Not insisting on mediator role

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Turkey said it does not have to return as mediator between Syria and Israel, a Turkish newspaper reported.

 “We are not insisting on being a mediator no matter what. After all, this is something which matters to our region and we always say that we will do our best,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Burak Özügergin said during a press briefing, the Zaman newspaper reported Thursday.

The comments come after Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that he opposed Turkish mediation in light of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s harsh criticism of Israel in the wake of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, and that he would not allow Turkey to resume mediation efforts as long as he served in his Cabinet position. 

Özügergin said during the briefing that everybody knew why the talks between Syria and Israel stalled last year — an apparent reference to the Gaza war, the newspaper said.

Özügergin also said that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak would soon visit Turkey.

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