Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh visits Turkey, meets with Erdogan

Egypt has agreed to allow Hamas leader to leave Gaza for the first time in three years. He is expected to visit also Malaysia, Russia, Qatar, Lebanon, Mauritania and Kuwait.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh next to his destroyed office (REUTERS/Handout) (photo credit: HANDOUT/REUTERS)
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh next to his destroyed office (REUTERS/Handout)
(photo credit: HANDOUT/REUTERS)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Saturday.
According to the report, the meeting was closed to the press.
Earlier this month, a Palestinian source said that Egypt had agreed to allow the leader of the terror organization that currently runs Gaza to leave the Strip for the first time in three years.
Haniyeh arrived in Turkey on December 8.
Upon his arrival in Turkey, he met with his deputy, Saleh Arouri and several senior Hamas officials. A founding member of Hamas’s Izzadin al-Qassam Brigade, Arouri serves as deputy head of the movement’s 'political bureau.' Last year, the US State Department offered a reward of up to $5 million for information that would lead to the identification or location of Arouri.
Haniyeh is also expected to visit Malaysia, Russia, Qatar, Lebanon, Mauritania and Kuwait, according to the Anadolu Agency.
According to the Iranian regime’s state-controlled news agency AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA), while addressing the press in Istanbul, the Hamas leader said that he was seeking to strengthen Hamas’ ties with Iran.
On Monday, Erdogan claimed that Ankara is the “lone voice” standing up for Palestinians today.
In a speech to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Turkey’s president slammed Israel and called for Islamic unity among the “brothers and sisters” to confront the West and conspiracies against Islamic countries. Turkey’s ruler insinuated that Turkey was a victim of “terrorist attacks” because of its “principled stance” against “oppression in Jerusalem.”
Seth Frantzman and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.