Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to visit Ankara soon
to ask Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to cancel his plans to visit
the Gaza Strip, a top PA official in Ramallah said on Tuesday.
this week, Erdogan announced that he would be visiting the Gaza Strip at the end
of next month.
“President Abbas is hoping to convince Erdogan to cancel
the visit or delay it until the Palestinians achieve national unity,” the
Last month, The Jerusalem Post reported that the PA
leadership was strongly opposed to Erdogan’s intention to visit the Gaza Strip
to meet with Hamas leaders.
The PLO embassy in Ankara denied the Post’s
report, claiming that Abbas and the PA leadership supported the Turkish prime
minister’s plan to visit Gaza.
Erdogan was supposed to visit the
Palestinian enclave last month, but delayed the trip at the request of the US
The PA believes that a visit by Erdogan to Gaza would
deepen Palestinian divisions, said Azzam al-Ahmed, member of the Fatah Central
Committee and a close adviser to Abbas.
“We hope this visit does not take
place,” Ahmed said.
“Anyone who visits the Gaza Strip without
coordination with the Palestinian Authority supports and deepens the split
between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
In the past, the PA has opposed
visits by other world leaders, including the Qatari emir, Tunisian president and
Malaysian prime minister.
The Tunisian president was the only one to
cancel his visit at the request of the PA leadership.
A PA official in
Ramallah warned on Monday that Erdogan’s planned trip would serve to legitimize
Hamas’s rule and create the impression that the Gaza Strip was an independent
The official told the Post that the PA leadership has
also asked the US administration to exert pressure on Erdogan to refrain from
going to Gaza.
The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported on
Tuesday that the PA leadership was holding highlevel contacts with Turkish
officials in an effort to get them to cancel Erdogan’s visit.