Mashaal and Erdogan meet in Ankara 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel used weak excuses as a pretext to attack Gaza, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.
During a surprise visit to Ankara, Mashaal told Erdogan that, "Israel used Gaza as a field experiment for the Iron Dome and the IDF's weapons." The Hamas leader thanked the Turkish prime minister for his efforts to achieve Palestinian unity, and to break the siege on Gaza. Erdogan expressed anger regarding Israel's aggression, and warned Mashaal that Israel was trying to drag Gaza into war.
Turkish daily Today's Zaman
reported that the main focus of the meeting was Palestinian reconciliation. The paper quoted Erdogan as saying before the meeting that, “there are positive
developments regarding relations between Hamas and Fatah. We will assess
two also discussed cooperation in the Middle East in the context of
deteriorating relations between Ankara and Jerusalem, and various developments in the region as a result of the violence in Syria.
The meeting lasted for two hours, and
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Justice and Development
Party Deputy Chairman Omer Celik were also present, according to the
Earlier Friday, Erdogan said Turkey might set up a border
"buffer zone" to protect growing numbers of Syrian refugees fleeing a violent uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
the bloody revolt entering its second year, government forces battled
protesters in at least three suburbs of the capital Damascus, opposition
activists said. They also reported flare-ups in other towns and cities.
once a firm ally of Assad, said he was considering setting up a buffer
zone along the border with Syria. Ankara might then withdraw its
ambassador once its nationals had returned home.
"A buffer zone, a
security zone, are things being studied," he told reporters in Ankara,
but said other ideas were also under consideration. "It would be wrong
to look at it from only one perspective."Reuters contributed to this report