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Hamas Praises Erdoğan's Anticipated Visit to Gaza - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara on April 16, 2013. (AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN)

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara on April 16, 2013. (AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN)

Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat—Hamas government official Ghazi Hamad emphasized that a successful visit by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the Gaza Strip would “serve the interests of all Palestinians.” Erdoğan has been invited to visit the Palestinian territory, although no trip has yet been scheduled.

Hamad, a representative of the Gaza government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, described Erdoğan’s expected visit as being “important and historical for all Palestinians.” He added that this visit “will represent strong support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people and their cause, and will also send a strong message against the Israeli occupation and the continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip.”

He said: “Since Turkey has a strong regional presence and extensive international relations, a visit by its prime minister to Gaza represents a chance to draw attention to the nature of Palestinian suffering, particularly regarding the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and the necessity of ending it.”

On Tuesday, Erdoğan announced that “there is no question of delaying this trip” following public appeals from US Secretary of State John Kerry to postpone.

Kerry said: “Surely, Mr. Erdoğan has the right to do or not to do what he wishes. We believe that the timing of the visit to Gaza is critical for the peace process we are trying to place back on the road. We want the sides not to be affected from outside. We think that it would be more beneficial if Mr. Erdoğan waited for the right conditions.”

Turkish government spokesman Bülent Arınç responded, “We are not in a position to receive permission from any other authority or accept their approval…. Mr. Kerry knows this. The world knows this. Turkey has the strength to accomplish what it wants, when it wants.”

Hamad said that the Gaza government has yet to set a date for Erdoğan’s visit, but that it will most likely take place before the end of next month.

The Hamas government official also criticized the inter-Palestinian divisions over Erdoğan’s forthcoming visit. He said: “These disputes are unjustified. It is not necessary to divide ourselves over the causes for every visit that takes place in Gaza. We believe that visits such as this support all Palestinians, and are not in favor of one party or another. They also support the domestic reconciliation file, and so should be welcomed and not used to provoke controversy.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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