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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to meet Turkish President in Istanbul

1 min

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, is set to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this weekend in Turkey, Erdogan announced on Wednesday. 

Ismail Haniyeh © Mena Today 

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, is set to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this weekend in Turkey, Erdogan announced on Wednesday. 

The meeting underscores Turkey’s ongoing involvement in Palestinian affairs and its attempts to mediate in the ongoing conflicts in the region.

During a session with his Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the Assembly, President Erdogan revealed that the "leader of the Palestinian cause" will be his guest this weekend. Although he did not specify an exact location, a Turkish official indicated that the meeting is scheduled for Saturday at the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul.

The announcement comes as Turkey's Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan visited Qatar, where Haniyeh currently resides. In Qatar, Fidan had a three-hour discussion with Haniyeh and his political bureau, focusing on a wide range of topics including ceasefire negotiations. Fidan highlighted the challenges Hamas faces from Western perceptions and Israeli propaganda, which he claimed compares Hamas to the Islamic State rather than recognizing it as a resistance movement.

The situation in Gaza remains tense, with the Turkish Foreign Minister acknowledging that the ongoing negotiations to cease hostilities and release Israeli hostages are stagnating. Qatar, a key mediator in the Israel-Hamas conflict, has also recognized the difficulties in advancing these talks.

In a fervent declaration of support, Erdogan expressed his unwavering commitment to the Palestinian struggle, stating that he would continue to advocate for the Palestinian people as long as he lives. He referred to Hamas as a "resistance group" and sharply criticized Israel, comparing its actions in Gaza to those of Hitler and accusing it of killing "14,000 innocent children."

This is not the first meeting between Erdogan and Haniyeh; their last encounter in Turkey was in the summer of 2023. Haniyeh was received at the presidential palace in Ankara along with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, on July 26, 2023. Erdogan had also recently extended his condolences to Haniyeh for the loss of his three sons and four grandchildren, who were killed in Gaza in an attack claimed by the Israelis.

The upcoming meeting between Erdogan and Haniyeh highlights Turkey's active role in Middle Eastern politics, especially in relation to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It also reflects Erdogan's personal and political commitment to supporting what he views as the Palestinian fight for freedom and sovereignty.

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