Mahmoud Abbas visits Palestinian ex-inmates

Mahmoud Abbas visits Palestinian ex-inmates

Mahmoud Abbas visits Palestinian ex-inmates

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shaking hands on Dec 21 in Ankara. AFP photo

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has met with 11 Palestinian ex-prisoners at his hotel in Ankara during a three-day trip to Turkey.

Abbas’ meeting with the prisoners, exiled to Turkey after they were freed as part of a prisoner-swap deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, took place Dec. 20 behind closed doors, according to Turkish Radio and Television (TRT).

The 11 Palestinians, kept from the public eye since their arrival in Ankara in October, were granted residence permits by the Turkish Interior Ministry, TRT reported.

In a meeting with Abbas yesterday Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “underlined the importance of Palestinian unity and stressed that Turkey is happy with efforts to that end and is strongly encouraging them,” an official from the Prime Ministry said.

Erdoğan also reassured Abbas that “Turkey will do its best in international platforms to support the Palestinian bid for U.N. full membership,” the official said.

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who also met with Abbas, said his party would support all government efforts in support of the Palestinians. “We told [Abbas] that peace in the Middle East could be largely achieved through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”