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Secretary Antony J. Blinken meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, Türkiye, January 6, 2024. (Official State Department photo by Chuck Kennedy)

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken was in Türkiye today, his first stop on a tour that will take him to eight other countries by Jan. 11. After Istanbul, Blinken is set to fly on to Crete, where he’ll meet Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, followed by stops in Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Palestine (Ramallah), and Egypt. He is expected to ask nations in the region to deter wider warfare, all the while the U.S. itself is promoting Israel and backing warfare.

However, the U.S. State Department officially describes Blinken’s mandate in all possible anodyne terms: to stress protecting civilian lives, releasing hostages, delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza, restoring essential services, and preventing the forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza. The State Department lays it on thick: Blinken will also address urgent steps to reduce violence, calm rhetoric, and ease tensions, including deterring Houthi attacks in Yemen and avoiding escalation in Lebanon.

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