Haniya praises Turkey’s role in Palestinian cause
Haniya flashes a victory-sign and waves a Palestinian flag on the deck of Mavi Marmara. Haniya (inset) presents freed Palestinians ‘Appreciation and Gratitude Certificate.’ DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELGaza’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said he “thanked Turkey for its contributions to Palestine cause and discussed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s possible visit to Gaza” during his meeting with his Turkish counterpart Jan. 1.
Haniya visited the Turkish flotilla ship, Mavi Marmara, as part of his Turkey tour yesterday in Istanbul. Haniya’s visit was a tribute to the nine Turkish activists killed by Israeli troops in a raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla in May 2010. Nearly 200 people including the deceased activists’ families welcomed Haniya on his visit supported by the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH).
“Israel hindered Mavi Marmara from reaching Gaza, but Palestinians reached the flotilla today. Mavi Marmara broke the Gaza Strip blockade and put the Palestinian cause on the world stage,” Haniya said. Haniya and the killed activists’ families met privately on the ship. He said newly built sections of the Gaza Port were named after them.
Haniya expressed his thanks to Turkey and said he understood clearly that Turkish society has similar feelings to Palestinian society. “Turkey’s martyrs are ours, your blood is ours and your wounds are ours. Israel acted as pirates and killed nine activists unprecedentedly,” Haniya said.
Meanwhile, Haniya told the Anatolia news agency the embargo on Gaza still continues and many houses, damaged during attacks, are still empty because construction materials are forbidden in Gaza.
Haniya, who arrived in Istanbul Jan. 1 as part of his first trip abroad since Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007, said his visit became possible only after the change in Egyptian rule thanks to the Arab Spring.
Haniya said he and Erdoğan discussed the possibility that Erdoğan and a Turkish delegation could visit Gaza. The prime ministers talked about the agreement between the Palestinian groups Al-Fatah and Hamas, to which Haniya said Turkey made contributions. Haniya also praised Turkey’s contributions to the prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel in which over 1,000 Palestinians were released from Israeli jails in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Haniya said they also discussed how to tackle the embargo on Gaza and the threats against the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. He also said they discussed Gaza’s reconstruction, which has become even more necessary after recent Israeli attacks.
Haniya is scheduled to meet opposition Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş this morning in Ankara, sources said.
Arab Spring turns Islamic Spring, says Haniya
Haniya said the Arab Spring was promising for the future of Palestine, saying that Palestine benefited most from the uprisings in the Arab world.
He said Arabs have supported the Palestinians for many years and those who toppled their regimes are reflected this support once more. He said Islamist and other parties that came to power through elections following the uprisings support the Palestinian cause. “We can say Arab Spring is turning into an Islamic Spring. We know that the Palestinian issue is one of the Arab and Muslim worlds.”
Haniya said, “Hamas does not recognize an interventionist Israeli government on Palestinian soil and Hamas has no right to make concessions from Palestine soils.”