Erdogan visits wounded Palestinians in Turkish hospital

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits 15 Palestinians injured in Gaza who were flown into Ankara for medical treatment as Turkey seeks to expand regional role.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkish President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited 15 injured Palestinians that were flown into Ankara for medical treatment.
Erdogan visited the Yenimahalle state hospital with Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu on Sunday, Turkey’s Yeni Safak news site reported.
The president-elect from the Islamist AK Party, who has led his country to a rupture in relations with Israel, gave prayer beads to a wounded girl and signed memoirs for other children.
Earlier this month, Turkey transferred 18 wounded Palestinians to Ankara for medical treatment, as part of a plan to evacuate thousands of people from the Gaza Strip.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey planned to bring in around 200 wounded in the first stage of the plan and would seek more flights in the future.
Turkey seeks to expand its regional role, in what some experts have called a neo-Ottoman foreign policy.
Meanwhile, tensions are rising between Syrian Arab refugees in the country and the locals. The country already shelters more than a million Syrian refugees.
Turkish officials vowed to take measures to combat growing discrimination against Syrian refugees, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported Monday.
A meeting held on Friday with Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, Turkey’s disaster relief agency AFAD, and other ministers, governors and mayors discussed the problems that have arisen and acknowledged that Syrian refugees are likely to remain in the country permanently.
“Despite this positive attitude and efforts, some provocations and disinformation stir up xenophobia and discrimination,” said a statement released after the meeting.
In addition, according to the report, Turkey finished biometric registration of 740,000 Syrians, with the rest of the refugees scheduled to be completed in a few months. The Turkish government puts the number of Syrians at 1,127,970.
Reuters contributed to this report.