Freed Palestinian to marry in the capital
A group of Palestinians, released by Israel, arrives in Ankara in this file photo. AA photoOne of the Palestinian inmates freed in the prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel is scheduled to marry in Ankara.
Ayman Abu Khalil, one of 11 Palestinians sent to Turkey after Israel released them from jail as part of a deal in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, said he invited Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to his wedding at Büyükhanlı Park Hotel, Turkish daily Vatan reported yesterday. The other 10 Palestinians exiled to Turkey will also be among the 200 guests at the wedding. Palestine’s Ambassador to Ankara Nabil Maruf is also expected to attend the wedding.
Khalil, 39, said he was involved in kidnapping three Israeli soldiers in order to push for the release of Palestinian inmates when Israeli forces arrested him. Khalil spent 18 years in jail and was engaged to his relative Ayat Zeyadah, 30, when he was in prison. His name was added to the list of prisoners to be released at the last minute.
Khalil said he chose to live in Turkey because it was a Muslim country and he will live in Turkey for the rest of his life. He said he first received a six month residence permit in Turkey and all 11 Palestinians stayed together when they first came. “Now they have told us that we are free to stay anywhere we want,” said Khalil. He said four of his fellow ex-inmates live in Ankara and the six others moved to Istanbul. He said Palestine gave him financial aid but he wants to earn a living from now on. Living in an apartment in Ankara, Khalil said he did not fear for his life.