Hamas leader Mashaal endorses Turkish leaders in surprise speech
Mashaal had also attended the AKP's congress in Ankara on September 30, 2012.Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, has made a surprise appearance at an event of Turkey's ruling party, endorsing the Turkish leaders and voicing his hope to "liberate Palestine and Jerusalem" together with them in the future.
"A strong Turkey means a strong Palestine ... Inshallah, God is with us and with you on the road to victory," Mashaal said in his address to the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) annual congress in the Konya province on Dec. 27.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, whose hometown is Konya, personally presented Mashaal to the audience. "Konya, the city of heroes! You give birth to your leaders," Mashaal said, congratulating the Turkish people "for having Davutoğlu and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan."
Mashaal's brief speech was interrupted by slogans including "God is great" and "Down with Israel" several times by AKP supporters in the sports hall who waved Turkish and Palestinian flags.
After thanking the Turkish government for inviting him to party events in Istanbul, Ankara and Konya, Mashaal said that "A democratic, stable and developed Turkey is a source of power for all Muslims."
"Inshallah we will liberate Palestine and Jerusalem again in the future," Mashaal added, noting that "all people of Konya had hit the streets" to protest Israel in the past.
Davutoğlu also touched upon the issue in his speech, praising the Konya locals who took to the streets in September 1980 to protest when Israel unilaterally declared Jerusalem as its capital.
"I greet all the brave people who claim Jerusalem ... Our flag is the symbol of all the oppressed in the world," he said.
Turkish PM also condemned the international media for supporting the "plot" of Gezi Park protests, vowing that "everyone who wants to block Turkey's rise will be brought to account."