MIDEAST > Turkish PM Erdoğan set to visit Gaza in April


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Turkish PM Erdoğan announced that he is set to visit Gaza next month. AA photo

Turkish PM Erdoğan announced that he is set to visit Gaza next month. AA photo

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced March 23 that he will visit Gaza, following Israel’s apology from Turkey over the Mavi Marmara raid, made the previous day.
“I may eventually visit Gaza and the West Bank in April. This visit would take place in the context of a general effort to contribute to the resolution process [of the Palestinian issue],” Erdoğan told reporters, adopting the same expression that he coined for the ongoing talks between the government and the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh had already announced March 22, hours after Israel’s apology, that Erdoğan would visit Gaza in the near future. 

Taher al-Nunu, spokesman for Ismael Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas government in the Gaza, confirmed that "Recep Tayyip Erdogan will soon visit the Gaza Strip where he will meet with Prime Minister (Haniyeh)".

Nunu said that Erdogan had called exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal "to tell him Israel had accepted Turkey's conditions: apologies for the murder of the Turkish militants, recognition of (Israel's) responsibility and the lifting of the embargo".

‘Reconciliation could precipitate al-Assad’s fall’

Erdoğan also said that the reconciliation with Israel and the prospect of a resolution of the Palestinian conflict in a new process could accelerate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fall. “Because there could be some different options available to use. The Jordan visit [of US President Barack Obama] is not a coincidence. I think that the Syria process will accelerate in the positive direction,” he said.

Erdoğan emphasized the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had used the word “apology” and not “regret” in the formal document, adding that the statement was issued in accordance with Turkey’s expectations. He explained that after Netanyahu’s phone call, they had agreed that the first statement would come from Israel. “In the end the United States made it public, then Israel confirmed and we announced that we accepted the apology,” he said’ adding that Israel had shown willingness to issue an apology and compensation in the past but that Turkey had insisted on the abolishment of the Gaza blockade.
However, Erdoğan was cautious regarding the restoration of diplomatic ties by the appointment of ambassadors.  “We will see what will be put into practice during the process. If they move forward in a promising way, we will make our contribution. Then, there would be an exchange of ambassadors,” he said, adding that the amount of the compensation would be determined by the competent bodies. 

"We took a stand but we managed to resolve the process without being [overly] intractable" he concluded. "We are at the beginning of a process of elevating Turkey to a position so that it will again have a say, initiative and power, as it did in the past."

The Israeli raid of the Mavi Marmara ship, which was carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza on May 31, 2010, claimed the lives of nine Turkish citizens aboard the vessel. Turkey had frozen its diplomatic ties with Israel after the latter refused to issue a formal apology.


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Notice on comments

mara mcglothin

3/25/2013 2:10:23 PM

Well said VARGEN VARGEN And why not put some pressure on Jordan to relax their blockade of Gaza, as well? Correct ALEX, but go figure. They never did explain either why some 40 other boats passed directly to the inspection points without incident. It was only the MM that had any problem. hmmmm? Now why was that? THESSALONIAN It would be great if that happened, but don't hold your breath.

alex smith

3/24/2013 11:31:03 PM

well does it not say in the testament that if someone comes to kill you then you shall kill them first. this is what the turkish people in the Mavi Marmara were planning to do as they had machetes and knives just waiting to kill the israeli soldiers which is clearly evident on all the videos

Vargen Vargen

3/24/2013 2:07:22 PM

Murat. You want to punish Israel for the Palestinian issue? Fine, but what do you say about the suffeings of the Muslim Arab women all over the region? Or what do you say about the extremely poor treatment of (Muslim) guest workers in Dubail? Or what do you say about how Talibans are treating their own (Muslim) people? Or the rape and torture and killings of (Muslims) in Iran? Should not Turkey instead focus on those peoples sufferings? They suffer far worse than Palestians. Far worse.

ismail demir

3/24/2013 2:02:24 PM

I hope, he will not show manners as he won victory to shame Turks.

Roberto L Tanizaki

3/24/2013 12:12:50 PM

Indeed, saying sorry or apologizing is not enough. It won't bring back the dead, but the families of the dead should be very well compensated. The Israel soldiers who killed the Turks should also be tried in an international court of justice, their medals taken back by the Israeli government.


3/23/2013 10:12:58 PM

Yes, there will be normalcy but there is no way for things to go back to where they were. Bibi pinned medals on the killers, that will not be forgotten. Aside from all the blood on their hands, Israeli policies will put them and did put them a collision course with Turkey. It is and was unavoidable unless Israel resolves the Palestinian problem soon and with some resemblance of justice.


3/23/2013 2:07:05 PM

Mr. Erdogan, the most viable and or likely contribution(s) to "the resolution process" which you might possibly be able to contribute would be by convinsing your terrorist friends, Hamas, to scrap their Charter, lay down their arms and cease firing rockets into Israel. The rest will fall into place with the requirement for Turkish diplomacy in absentia. Also do keep in mind that your popularity in Israel currently leaves a lot to be desired by any stretch of one's imagination... Regards.

Chris Bar

3/23/2013 1:45:55 PM

Well, well, well, his greatness will visit Gaza to celebrate the humiliation of Israel. Serves you right Israel...
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