Palestinian Authority Against Turkish PM’s visit to Gaza

Senior official in the PA says that since Gaza is not an independent Palestinian state & Hamas is not the legitimate representative of the Palestinians,  diplomatic visits should be via Ramallah.



The Palestinian Authority is opposed to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s intention to visit the Gaza Strip, a senior PA official in Ramallah said Wednesday.

Mashaal and Erdogan meet in Ankara

Mashaal and Erdogan meet in Ankara – Photo: REUTERS

“The Palestinian Authority leadership has informed the Turkish government that we are opposed to such a visit because it would deepen divisions among the Palestinians,” the PA official said. “The Gaza Strip is not an independent Palestinian state and Hamas is not the legitimate representative of the Palestinians.”

The Turkish prime minister’s announcement that he would visit the Gaza Strip in the near future came shortly after Israel apologized for an Israel Defense Forces raid on a flotilla of ships heading for Gaza in May 2010. Nine Turkish nationals died in the raid after IDF troops attempting to board one of the boats came under attack. The apology paved the way for a normalization of Turkey-Israel relations.

Erdogan told officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party that he would travel to the Gaza Strip to check whether Israel has kept its promise to ease its blockade on the Hamas-controlled territory.

The PA leadership has in the past opposed visits to the Gaza Strip by the emir of Qatar and the Malaysian prime minister, who nevertheless chose to ignore the PA’s stance.

More recently, the Tunisian president called off a planned visit to the Gaza Strip following strong protests from the PA leadership.

The PA fears that such visits would legitimize Hamas’s rule of the Gaza Strip and affect the PLO’s claim to be the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported that Erdogan might take PA President Mahmoud Abbas with him on his trip to the Gaza Strip.

According to the report, the Turkish government has decided to join Arab efforts to end the dispute between Fatah and Hamas.

The newspaper said that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been in touch with Palestinian and other Arab parties to discuss ways of boosting efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.


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