Hamas welcomes Erdogan’s resolve to go ahead with Gaza visit

Gaza, April 23 (IANS) Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh welcomed Tuesday Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s determination to visit the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip despite US pressure.

Erdogan’s decision to visit the Palestinian territory “emphasizes that the era of US tutelage has ended”, said Haniyeh in a statement issued by his office, reported Xinhua. Haniyeh is currently visiting Qatar.

Erdogan announced Tuesday that he is going ahead with his visit, scheduled next month after he finishes a trip to Washington on May 16.

On Sunday, the US Secretary of State John Kerry met Erdogan and advised him to cancel the Gaza trip.

The US, Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) held that such a visit would bolster Hamas, which took over the coastal enclave after routing forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in a bid to isolate Hamas, the militant Islamic group that doesn’t recognize Israel.

In March, the US brokered an Israeli apology to Turkey as the first step to restore the diplomatic relations between its two Middle East allies to their track.

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