Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal speaks during an interview with Reuters in Doha.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday.
It the second meeting between the two men in 2015. Erdogan and Mashaal met earlier this year when the Hamas leader was invited to attend a conference held by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Speaking in advance of the meeting, Hamas sources in the Gaza Strip said that Mashaal’s visit to Turkey was aimed at discussing ways of “activating the Palestinian cause on the regional and international levels.”
The two men were also scheduled to discuss rebuilding the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of last year’s Operation Protective Edge, and ways of consolidating the current cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the sources added.
Mashaal was also expected to hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday evening.
The sources said that another senior Hamas figure, Mahmoud Zahar, was expected to head to Tehran in the coming days to bolster Iranian sup - port for the Islamist movement. Zahar’s planned visit coincides with unconfirmed reports that Iran had turned down a request from Mashaal to visit the country.
The Hamas official maintains close ties with Iran, and is hoping that the visit will ease recent tensions between the Islamic Republic and the Gaza-based terrorist organization. The Iranians are believed to be unhappy with Mashaal’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia. The Gulf state is leading the war against Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen