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Turkey at the centre of Palestinian talks

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Turkey at the centre of Palestinian talks


Turkey has been hosting two-day talks between the two Palestinian groups. Turkey had another surprising visitor other than Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. The leader of Hamas, Khalid Meshaal paid a secret visit to Istanbul and met with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu.

The aim of the meeting was to find ways of overcoming the obstacles to a national unity government between Hamas and Fatah. Davutoglu met with the two leaders separately. Sources told euronews that Meshaal spent a few hours in Turkey and left for Damascus as soon as the meeting was over.

Foreign Minister Davutoglu said “In such a critical situation, unity between the two Palestinian groups must be preserved”. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry made a short statement about the visit, saying “Palestinian consensus was discussed during the talks between Meshaal and the Foreign Minister. Talks and negotiations on the Palestinian unity talks will take place again.”

Palestinians are trying to form a unity government between Hamas, which rules Gaza, and the Fatah, which controls the West Bank. The two sides want to proceed with presidential and parliamentary elections within a year. But so far no deal has been reached, a fact that strengthens the position of Israel, which argues that there is no partner to negotiate peace with on the Palestinian side.

Turkey was among the first countries to recognize the Hamas government after elections in 2006. Meshaal visited Turkey following that election, creating tension between Ankara and Washington as Hamas is regarded as a terrorist organization by the US and other Western nations, including Israel. Turkey, however, recognizes Hamas as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and is trying to keep the doors of dialogue open.

Bora Bayraktar, İstanbul

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