President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan helped Palestinian factions take another step toward reconciliation as he hosted a meeting of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and top Hamas figure Ismail Haniyeh.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted a meeting of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh at the Presidential Complex on Wednesday in the capital Ankara in a rare meeting between three leaders.
The meeting was held behind closed doors while photos released by the Presidency showed Haniyeh hugging Erdoğan. Erdoğan has already warmly welcomed Abbas, who met the president on Tuesday evening.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also due to visit Türkiye this week, but his visit was later postponed after he had surgery last weekend and as Israel is roiled by protests over contentious judicial reform.
After several years of tensions, relations between Türkiye and Israel have improved over the past year, with several high-level visits, including that of Israel’s President Isaac Herzog.
Erdoğan on Tuesday promised to continue supporting the Palestinian cause and voiced concerns over the flare-up of violence in the West Bank in recent months after meeting with Abbas. Israeli troops killed a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank Wednesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Abbas on Tuesday, Erdoğan said he reiterated Ankara’s commitment to the Palestinian cause and solidarity with Palestinians. He noted that Türkiye will continue to support all efforts to ensure the safety and security of Palestinians. He highlighted that the only way for a fair and permanent solution in the region is through a two-state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict. Erdoğan also noted that the international community’s engagement – particularly the United Nations – in the Palestinian issue was crucial to find a solution. “Türkiye cannot accept actions aimed at changing the historical status quo of holy places, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said, adding that establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital with 1967 borders is essential for regional stability.
For his part, Abbas said Tuesday that they appreciate Türkiye’s support for the Palestinian people. “We express our gratitude to you, the Turkish state, and the Turkish people for standing by the Palestinian cause,” he said. Abbas pointed out the challenges faced by Palestinians, given the current “extreme right-wing” Israeli government’s efforts to undermine the political process through “racist and colonial practices.” Stressing that many resolutions passed by the U.N. had gone unimplemented over the years, Abbas highlighted the importance of Türkiye’s support in upholding Palestinian rights and seeking full membership for Palestine in the U.N. by engaging in international forums.
Türkiye supports a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the U.N. Security Council resolutions that would ensure two states living side by side within secure and recognized borders.
“Given the broader, wider regional rapprochement and reconciliation efforts between several key players in the region, it is meaningless to sustain the problematic relations between the Palestinian factions. Therefore, Türkiye hosting both parties is an important event to push forward the reconciliation process between Palestinians themselves. I think that also, given Türkiye’s progress in relations with Egypt and Israel, it will have more influence on the Palestinian issue. The chances of Palestinian reconciliation are high. There is no good reason to keep the problematic relations,” Dr. Ali Bakır, international affairs professor at Qatar University and nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Councils’ Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative and Middle East Programs, told Daily Sabah on Wednesday.
“It shows Erdoğan and Türkiye’s strong commitment to the Palestinian cause and the importance of a two-state solution. It also sends a message to Israel that Türkiye will not change course on the issue even if Türkiye-Israel relations are moving forward. It also sends a strong message to regional players,” he added. “This will also strengthen Türkiye’s position on the regional level and serve Türkiye’s role to establish regional stability and prosperity for the whole region,” he said.
A written statement by Hamas on Wednesday said that Abbas and Haniyeh agreed upon combining “national efforts.” Member of Hamas Political Bureau Husam Badran said that the meeting involved in-depth and candid discussions in preparation for the upcoming meeting of Palestinian factions’ secretaries-general in Cairo, Egypt. During the talks, the Hamas delegation reaffirmed Hamas’ stance on the importance of comprehensive resistance as the most effective approach to confront the Israeli occupation and the challenges facing the Palestinian issue, Badran added.
Source: Daily Sabah
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