Hamas chief in Turkey to meet PM Erdoğan
ANKARA - Agence France- Presse
Hamas' Khaled Meshaal attends a signing ceremony in Doha on February 6, 2012. AFP PhotoHamas leader Khaled Meshaal arrived in Turkey today to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
"The prime minister will meet with Meshaal at 2:00 pm (1200 GMT)," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The meeting was not on Erdoğan's daily itinerary distributed to the press.
The Islamic-conservative government led by Erdoğan is at odds with Israel, and an ardent defender of the Palestinian cause for establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.
Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and many Western countries, but not by Turkey.
The head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, was received with enthusiasm during a visit to Turkey in early January, as part of his first-time regional tour.
In Istanbul, Haniyeh particularly praised the nine Turks killed during an Israeli raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla on its way to Gaza in May 2010.
Ties between Turkey and Israel, once close allies, have deteriorated significantly after the assault against the Turkish flagship of the international flotilla.