'Peace process must involve Hamas as a player'

In meeting with Haniyeh, Erdogan praises Palestinian unity efforts, discusses what he terms “Judaization of J'lem.”

January 1, 2012 23:43
1 minute read.
Turkey's Erdogan with Hamas' Ismail Haniyek

Turkey's Erdogan with Hamas' Ismail Haniyek 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Kayhan Ozer/Prime Minister's Press Office/)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan met with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul Sunday, saying that any process leading to a solution of Palestinian issues must involve Hamas as a player.

Erdogan's comments were reported following the meeting at his home in Istanbul. Palestinian media outlets said that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was also present in the meeting.

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During the meeting, Erdogan referred to Israel as the “occupier” and discussed with Haniyeh what he termed the “Judaization of Jerusalem” and actions meant to make Arab residents flee the city, according to Palestinian media. 

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Haniyeh reportedly thanked Erdogan for his support of Gaza residents during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead two years ago. Haniyeh’s visit to Turkey follows visits to Egypt and Sudan. He is expected to meet with leaders also in Qatar, Tunisia and Bahrain.

Erdogan also expressed support of Hamas and Fatah’s reconciliation and said he hoped the Palestinians will establish an umbrella organization which would democratically represent all political players among the Palestinians.

Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Shaath arrived in the Gaza Strip Sunday evening as part of efforts to implement a Palestinian unity deal with rival Hamas, Palestinian news agencies reported. The issue of Palestinian reconciliation was the main priority of the trip, during which he was set to discuss implementing the deal on the ground.

Also Sunday, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will renew direct talks in Amman on Tuesday. This will be the first public direct meeting between the sides in more than a year.

JPost.com Staff contributed to this report.

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