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PA official: Erdogan visit will deepen Palestinian rift
By
April 17, 2013 06:01
“President Abbas is hoping to convince Erdogan to cancel the visit or delay it until the Palestinians achieve national unity,” PA official says of Turkish PM's planned trip to Gaza.
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

turkish PM Erdogan 370. (photo credit:REUTERS/Stringer)

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.

Earlier this week, Erdogan announced that he would be visiting the Gaza Strip at the end of next month.



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“President Abbas is hoping to convince Erdogan to cancel the visit or delay it until the Palestinians achieve national unity,” the official said.

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 administration.

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 Palestinian entity.

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.
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Tags:
  • Gaza
  • Palestinians
  • Turkey
  • erdogan
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