PRIME MINISTER Erdogan and Hamas leader Haniyeh 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Palestinian Authority is opposed to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan to visit the Gaza Strip, a senior Fatah official and close advisor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said Monday.
Last month, The Jerusalem Post reported that the PA leadership in the West Bank was strongly opposed to Erdogan’s intention to visit the Gaza Strip to meet with Hamas leaders.
Then, the PA embassy in Turkey denied the Post’s report, claiming that Abbas and the PA leadership supported the Turkish prime minister’s plan to visit the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday, Erdogan announced that he would visit the Gaza Strip at the end of May.
Erdogan was supposed to visit the Gaza Strip last month, but delayed the trip at the request of the US Administration.
The PA believes that Erdogan’s visit to the Gaza Strip would deepen Palestinian divisions, said Azzam al-Ahmed, member of the Fatah Central Committee and a close advisor to Abbas.
Ahmed said that Abbas was planning to visit Ankara soon in a bid to persuade Erdogan not to go to the Gaza Strip.
“We hope this visit does not take place,” Ahmed said. “Anyone who visits the Gaza Strip without coordination with the Palestinian Authority supports and deepens the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
The PA has in the past opposed visits to the Gaza Strip by other world leaders, including the Qatari emir, Tunisian president and Malaysian prime minister.
A PA official in Ramallah warned Monday that Erdogan’s planned visit would serve to legitimize Hamas’s rule and create the impression that the Gaza Strip is an independent Palestinian entity.
The official told the Post that the PA leadership has asked the US Administration to exert pressure on Erdogan to refrain from going to the Gaza Strip.