Mashaal met Turkish officials to discuss

Mashaal met Turkish officials to discuss

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Mashaal met Turkish officials to discuss

In this photo provided by Turkish Prime Minister’s Press Service, Hamas leader Halid Mashaal, left, and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speak. AP Photo

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal had discussions with Turkish officials on Palestinian reconciliation efforts between rival Hamas and Fatah groups on March 16.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the talks would focus on “recent positive developments” in efforts to reconcile Hamas and Fatah. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also joined the talks, which had not been scheduled in the itineraries delivered to the press, returning from Istanbul to join the meeting.

A Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement was ceremoniously signed in Cairo last year with both factions agreeing on parliamentary and presidential elections within months. In February 2012, Mashaal agreed to appoint Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas interim prime minister in a second bid to expedite elections.

Mashaal faces internal opposition from Hamas leaders in Gaza, who are reluctant to hand over authority to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas would serve as the prime minister of any interim government.

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 regional tour.