Gaza's Hamas premier visits Turkey

Gaza's Hamas premier visits Turkey

ISTANBUL - The Associated Press
Gazas Hamas premier visits Turkey

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh talks during a news conference with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi after their meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo December 26, 2011. REUTERS Photo

The Gaza Strip's Hamas premier is in Turkey for meetings with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the head of an Islamic aid group whose Gaza-bound vessel was the target of a deadly raid by Israeli troops in 2010.

Ismail Haniyeh is on an official tour of the Muslim world, his first trip outside the blockaded territory since the Islamist group overran Gaza in 2007. Turkey's ties with Israel, a former ally, deteriorated sharply over the flotilla raid that killed nine activists on the Turkish boat, and Erdogan has demanded that Israel lift all restrictions on the Palestinian territory.

Haniyeh is scheduled to meet Erdogan at his Istanbul residence on Sunday afternoon. On Monday, he will meet officials of the Islamic aid group IHH.