Hamas Chief Meets with Turkish President to Discuss Gaza Conflict and Aid Efforts

Hamas leader Haniyeh meets Erdogan in Turkey, discusses Gaza conflict, ceasefire, and aid efforts. Highlights Turkey's support for Palestine and calls for international action to prevent Israeli invasion and reach a ceasefire.

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Momen Zellmi
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Hamas Chief Meets with Turkish President to Discuss Gaza Conflict and Aid Efforts

Hamas Chief Meets with Turkish President to Discuss Gaza Conflict and Aid Efforts

In a high-level meeting in Istanbul, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday to discuss the ongoing conflict in Gaza, cease-fire negotiations, and aid efforts. Haniyeh praised Türkiye's support for Palestine amid the war and Erdoğan's description of Hamas as a "liberation movement" akin to the Turkish National Forces during the country's War of Independence.

During the meeting, Haniyeh warned against a potential Israeli invasion of Rafah, which he said could lead to further massacres against Palestinians. He called on Egypt, Türkiye, Qatar, and European countries to restrain Israeli aggression and ensure the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. Haniyeh emphasized that Hamas is part of the Palestinian people and can establish a national unity government, stating that "Gaza is a national part of Palestine."

Why this matters: The meeting between Haniyeh and Erdoğan highlights the ongoing diplomatic efforts to address the conflict in Gaza and the humanitarian crisis faced by Palestinians. Türkiye's support for Hamas and the Palestinian cause has been a point of tension in its relationship with Israel.

Haniyeh criticized the U.S. for affording protection and weapons to Israel, which he said has led to the killing of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. He called for international efforts to prevent a potential Israeli military operation in Rafah and to reach a ceasefire agreement. However, Haniyeh noted that Israel has not accepted the ceasefire proposals and instead wants to take back prisoners and restart the war, risking regional escalation.

The Turkish government stated that its foremost objective is to bring an end to the violence in Gaza and establish a Palestinian state to achieve lasting peace in the region. Erdoğan had previously expressed support for Hamas, likening it to the Kuvayi-Milliye (National Forces) during the Turkish War of Independence.

Haniyeh highlighted Türkiye's historical ties to the Palestinian cause and its consistent stance on the Palestinian issue and the Gaza blockade. The two leaders also discussed commercial restrictions on Israel and their effects on commercial activity, which Haniyeh described as an important step against the "Zionist enemies" who have committed atrocities against Palestinians.

The meeting between Haniyeh and Erdoğan comes amid the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with reports of lack of water, electricity, healthcare, and food. The World Food Program has warned that regular and sustained access for humanitarian aid is needed to halt famine in the region. Negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza appear to be stalled, as Israel has taken an uncompromising stance despite Hamas's willingness to reach an agreement.

Haniyeh condemned the U.S. for providing political protection for Israel and its veto against the establishment of a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council. He emphasized the importance of Palestinian unity in the face of Israeli aggression, stating, "Gaza will be governed by Palestinians after the fighting ends, and Hamas expects the national consensus government covering Gaza and the West Bank to govern."

Key Takeaways

  • Hamas chief Haniyeh met with Turkish President Erdogan to discuss Gaza conflict.
  • Haniyeh praised Turkey's support for Palestine and criticized U.S. protection of Israel.
  • Haniyeh warned of potential Israeli invasion of Rafah, called for ceasefire efforts.
  • Turkey aims to end violence in Gaza and establish a Palestinian state.
  • Negotiations for Gaza ceasefire appear stalled as Israel maintains uncompromising stance.