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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Turkey cuddling up to Hamas again

Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal has paid a 'secret' visit to his Islamist friends in Turkey.
“It was learned that Meshaal informed Erdogan about the efforts and the substance of the reconciliation talks between the Palestinian factions,” the news report said. “It was also stated that Prime Minister Erdogan told Meshaal, 'It is of great importance that the process to reconcile the Palestinian factions continues without interruption, and that it will also impact the peace process positively.'”
While Meshaal’s visit was described as “secretive” by Turkish television, the local Palestinian sources told Al-Monitor that he actually arrived in Ankara late on Sunday evening and left on Tuesday; however, it's bizarre for Meshaal to visit Ankara in such a covert manner.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Meshaal first visited the Turkish capital in February 2006. Back then, Erdogan backed away from meeting the Hamas political bureau chief in person to avoid the inevitable Israeli and US reactions. Not that Erdogan considers Hamas as a terrorist organization as they do, but he probably calculated that Meshaal’s showing up in Ankara after it scored a win at the Palestinian elections was good enough to send the message as to where the Erdogan government stands on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Fast forward, it was no one else but Meshaal in October 2012 who received the standing ovation and the most applause at the Justice and Development Party’s National Congress. Moreover, Erdogan publicly made it very clear that his heart was joining Meshaal in his first visit to Gaza in December to mark Hamas’ 25th anniversary. Erdogan’s visit to Gaza still remains possibility.
The point is, there seems to be no justification today to play games around Meshaal’s visit to Ankara. The fact that it was kept secret opens more questions. In that context, the local Palestinian sources told Al-Monitor that even the Palestinian Embassy in Ankara was kept in dark about this visit. “We’re disappointed about this,” a Palestinian source told Al-Monitor. “It’s really weird, because there is no reason to keep these visits secret.”
If Turkey is worried  about the US reaction to an open Hamas visit, one has to wonder why. The Obama administration has been quite clear about where its sympathies lie. I'd be surprised if they don't recognize Hamas sometime before Obama's term ends. 

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At 6:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

You think he brought Erdogan a 'message' for Kerry 'I Will Implement President Obama's Vision For The World'?


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