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MIDEAST > Palestine 'against' Turkish PM Erdoğan's visit to Gaza: Official

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. AA Photo

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. AA Photo

Palestine is opposed to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s intention to visit the Gaza Strip, as it would deepen divisions, a senior Palestinian official said yesterday.

Erdoğan said he planned to travel to the Gaza Strip and West Bank in the coming weeks. “The Palestinian Authority leadership has informed the Turkish government that we are opposed to such a visit because it would deepen divisions among the Palestinians,” Israeli daily Jerusalem Post quoted the official as saying.

He stressed that the Gaza Strip is not an independent Palestinian state and Hamas is not the legitimate representative of Palestinians. Israel issued a formal apology to Turkey and agreed to pay compensation over the Mavi Marmara killings of 2010 on March 22 after a phone conversation between the two countries’ premiers, Benjamin Netanyahu and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The statement came as the U.S. renewed its opposition to engaging Hamas. State Department acting deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell stressed that the U.S. continues to “urge all those wishing to provide international humanitarian support to Gaza to do so through established channels, to ensure that the Palestinians’ humanitarian needs and Israel’s legitimate security needs are both met.” Washington’s stance on Hamas militants has also “not changed,” he added, noting U.S. “opposition to engagement with Hamas.”

March/28/2013

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