United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Turkey for a brief visit Friday as part of a regional tour to press for an end to Israel's deadly military campaign in Gaza, as Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan calls for Israel to be barred from the U.N.
On arriving to Ankara, Ban will hold talks with President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan before having a working dinner with Erdogan. There were no plans for a press conference.
Ban's regional visit comes as efforts gathered pace in Egypt to broker a truce between Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement and secure an end to the Jewish state's 21-day-old campaign in Gaza, which has killed more than 1,145 Palestinians and wounded 5,100 others.
Israel's offensive in Gaza has unleashed anger in Turkey with the Islamist-rooted government in Ankara leveling accusations at Israel.
Ban, who has already visited Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, will leave Turkey later Friday for Lebanon. He is also scheduled to visit Syria before going to Kuwait to attend an Arab League summit on Monday.
Erdogan said earlier that Israel should be barred from the U.N. headquarters for ignoring a Security Council's call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Turkey, a predominantly Muslim but secular country that has good ties with Israel and the Arab world, has been trying to help broker a ceasefire between Israel and the Islamist Hamas group which rules the Gaza strip.
But ties between Turkey and Israel have become strained over Israel's offensive in Gaza, nearing its fourth week. Turkey won a non-permanent seat at the Security Council last year.
"Israel does not comply with the binding resolution of the U.N. concerning the ceasefire. This is a habit for Israel. Israel is a country that has not complied with hundreds of U.N. resolutions in the past," Erdogan said in a speech to his party that was broadcast live on television.
"I want to ask the U.N. -- how can a country, which continuously ignores resolutions of the U.N. Security Council be allowed to enter through the gates of the United Nations (headquarters)?"
It was not clear whether Erdogan suggested Israel should be temporarily barred from the U.N. headquarters or permanently.
Both Israel and Hamas have rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution to halt the fighting.
Turkish public opinion is increasingly hostile to Israel's Gaza campaign launched with the declared aim of ending Hamas's cross-border rocket attacks.
Erdogan accused Israel of mocking world leaders for firing at a U.N. Relief and World Agency (UNRWA) compound in Gaza on Thursday.
"Israel hit a U.N. building while the U.N. Secretary General (Ban Ki-moon) was in Gaza. This is openly challenging the world. This means Israel is making fun of the world. There must be no more casualties and this war must stop," he said.
Turkey, a U.S. ally and a NATO member, has strong military and strategic ties with Israel. Sales of Israeli military equipment to Turkey is estimated at $100 million annually and the two countries share vital security intelligence.