(photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he plans to visit Gaza next week, Turkish paper Today’s Zaman reported.
Erdogan said he was invited to join Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal's visit to Gaza on December 5, Today’s Zaman reported.
The Turkish prime minister has expressed willingness to visit Gaza several times in the past. Earlier this month, Erdogan told reporters he plans to visit Gaza soon
, and that Turkish officials are conducting talks with officials in the Strip in order to make the trip happen, according to Today’s Zaman
Erdogan announced plans to visit Gaza in July and again in September
of 2011, both times canceling the trip that would have surely irked the Israeli government. Israel and much of the West designate the ruling Hamas government in Gaza as a terrorist organization.
On Tuesday, Iranian news agency PressTV reported that Egypt has given preliminary approval for Iranian lawmakers to visit Gaza through the Rafah border crossing.
Earlier this month, during the eight day IDF operation in Gaza, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has expressed willingness to visit the Strip, but was waiting for Egyptian coordination.