Istanbul, Turkey -- Secretary of State John Kerry is in Turkey on the first leg of a 10-day trip to Europe and Asia.
Kerry, who arrived in Istanbul early Sunday, is expected to encourage Turkish leaders to continue improving ties with Israel. Relations between the two former allies spiraled downward after Israel's deadly 2010 raid on a Turkish flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip.
Hopes for rapprochement improved after Obama brokered a phone conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while President Barack Obama was in Israel last month.
Kerry also will coordinate with Erdogan and other Turkish officials on efforts to halt the violence in neighboring Syria.
Kerry plans to fly from Turkey to Jerusalem for meetings with leaders of both Israel and the Palestinians in an effort to revive long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Kerry will also visit Britain and then South Korea, China and Japan, where talks will focus on North Korea's nuclear program and escalating threats against the U.S. and its allies.