Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Erdoğan’s compromise: I will go to Gaza with Abbas

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013   No comments

Will what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said about the delay of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s trip to Gaza change his travel schedule? This was the question the journalist asked Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on board the night plane carrying them to Brussels for a NATO meeting on Syria the next day, April 23. Davutoğlu’s answer was a simple “No.”

“The main parameter of Erdoğan’s visit to Gaza is not what Kerry said,” Davutoğlu carried on. “It is the reconciliation talks between the Palestinians.” If the two rival Palestinian factions – Fatah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas lead by Khaled Mashaal – would come to an agreement in talks expected early in May in Egypt, the current picture will change as Ankara believes. “If the Palestinians agree, it may be possible [for Erdoğan] to go to Gaza with Abbas,” Davutoğlu said. So that is Erdoğan’s formula for his Gaza trip, which has great symbolic importance for his foreign policy especially in the Middle East. “We have been talking about this both with Abbas and Mashaal,” Davutoğlu added.

The power base of Abbas is the West Bank and Mashaal’s is Gaza, which has been under Israeli embargo since 2006, the reason being shown as rocket attacks from there on Israeli towns. Israeli military operations on Gaza, which caused civilian losses of life caused Erdoğan’s outburst during the Davos meetings in 2009, the famous “one minute” incident with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

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