abbas and erdogan.
(photo credit: Stringer Turkey / Reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet in Ankara on Monday to discuss Palestinian reconciliation, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced.
Fatah, Abbas’s party, and Hamas have been at loggerheads since 2007 when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in a coup d’etat and ousted the Fatah-dominated PA from the territory.
In a bid to pressure Hamas to cede control of the Strip, Abbas has recently cut a number of budgets that the PA allocates to the Strip for electricity, medicine, salaries and other purposes. One of Abbas’s close confidantes has said it is not logical that Hamas has a government in Gaza and the PA funds it.
Hamas has blasted Abbas for his pressure moves, accusing him of besieging the Strip alongside Israel.
Senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub told PA radio earlier last week the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah hopes the meeting between Abbas and Erdogan will “be a positive factor in ending the division.”
Turkey is one of Hamas’s closest allies and has sent millions of dollars in aid to the Strip in the past 10 years.
In the past couple of months, however, Hamas has placed its bets on improving its relations with one of Turkey’s regional rivals, Egypt. Hamas and Egyptian officials have met a number of times to discuss improving the security situation along the Gaza-Egypt border, economic relief for Gaza, and other issues.
As long as ties between Hamas and Egypt continue to improve, it is not clear to what extent Turkey can influence Hamas’s positions on reconciliation.