Turkish PM Erdoğan rules out postponing Gaza visit
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. DHA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan voiced resolve on April 23 for going ahead with his original plan to visit Gaza in late May, despite a public call by the U.S. administration to delay his visit.
Postponing the visit is out of the question, Erdoğan said, in response to reporters’ questions. “I have already said that I will go [to Gaza] after the U.S. visit. There is no postponement,” he added. “I wish he hadn’t said that, it wasn’t classy,” Erdoğan responded after being reminded of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks on the issue.
While in Istanbul, at a press conference on April 21, Kerry appealed to Erdoğan to put off his planned visit to Gaza, in order to avoid disrupting efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. “We already have a planned visit to the U.S., this issue could have been discussed there,” Erdoğan said.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç yesterday heavily criticized Kerry’s comments on Erdoğan’s planned visit to Gaza.
Israel ‘against’ visit
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Salah El-Berdevil said Israel is seeking to prevent Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Gaza by threatening to strike the coastal enclave and claiming that rockets landed in Israel fired from Gaza.
“Israel is threatening to strike Gaza to stop Prime Minister Erdoğan’s visit and they will claim rockets landed in the Israeli city of Eilat fired from Gaza,” El-Berdevil told Anatolia news agency. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed last weekend that Israel would respond to Gaza militants who fired missiles from Sinai at the southern resort city of Eilat.