World Bulletin / News Desk
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas may accompany Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his planned visit to Gaza next month, a Palestinian official said on Sunday.
"I believe if Erdoğan comes to Gaza, he may accompany president Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]," Ahmed Yousef, former senior political adviser to Gazan Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, told Ma'an news agency.
Following an apology from Israel over a 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that resulted in the deaths of eight Turks and a Turkish American, Erdoğan announced that he could pay a visit to Gaza in April.
Erdoğan confirmed on Saturday an earlier announcement by Gaza's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh who said the Turkish prime minister would soon visit the Gaza Strip.
Speaking at a commemoration ceremony for Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004, Haniyeh said Erdoğan talked to Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on the phone, saying that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to "lift the siege on the Palestinian people."
On Friday, Netanyahu offered an apology to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara raid, ending a deep crisis in ties between the two former allies. He also said Israel has agreed to pay compensation to the families of the victims and that Israel and Turkey agree to work together to improve the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories.
Yousef noted that a visit to Gaza by the Turkish prime minister would represent a real breakthrough in addressing the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Erdoğan said on Sunday that normalization with Israel will not happen unless Israel lives up to its promises to pay compensation and ease Gaza blockade.
The report added that Erdoğan will likely pledge financial support for projects in Gaza and his visit could encourage other regional Arab leaders to visit.
Yousef added that Erdoğan’s visit could also help push forward reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, as he would coordinate any visit with the Palestinian Administration.Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Mart 2013, 18:10