Erdogan Meets Mishaal in Istanbul as Turkey and Israel Get Closer to Reconciliation Deal

Turkish president meets with Hamas leader. (Photo: via Twitter)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, met on Friday with Khaled Mishaal, the Head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, amidst expectations that both countries are closer to inking an agreement that will end a six-year rift.

Nine Turkish activists were killed in the international waters in 2010 by Israeli forces, while activists tried to break the siege Israel imposes on Gaza. The killing led to a diplomatic rift between Israel and Turkey.

Turkey has asked Israel to meet three conditions before reaching any reconciliation: apologizing for the killing of the activists, compensating the families of those killed, and ending the siege Israel imposes on Gaza.

The Israeli Prime Minister has apologized for the killings, and Turkey and Israel have reached an understanding of paying compensation to the families However, Israel has continuously refused to lift the siege on Gaza.

Reports suggest that Israel agreed to allow Turkish aid into Gaza, including implementing some projects such as building a Turkish hospital, a water desalination facility, and a power plant. However, aid will first go through Israel before being allowed into Gaza.

In the meeting with Mishaal and Erdoğan this issue appears to have been discussed. Sources said Erdogan and Meshaal discussed efforts to ease division among Palestinians in addition to humanitarian aid provided by Turkey.

For Israel, the presence of Hamas in Turkey has always been the obstacle for normalizing relations. Yet, Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that the meetings with Hamas were not an obstacle to reaching an agreement with Israel.

Last Wednesday, Mishaal thanked Turkey “for its condition to lift the siege of Gaza before reaching a reconciliation agreement with Israel”. Mishaal added, “Turkey would have reached an agreement with Israel a long time ago had this condition been fulfilled”.

(Palestine Chronicle)

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