ISTANBUL – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met the leader of Palestinian group Hamas, Khaled Mashal, in Istanbul on June 24, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Erdoğan and Mashal discussed how to resolve the disagreements among Palestinians as well as Turkish humanitarian assistance, the report said, citing an unnamed source from the Turkish Presidency.
The Turkish leader emphasized during the meeting that Turkey was keen on easing the distress of Palestinians, the source, who was not named due to restrictions on speaking with the media, told Anadolu Agency.
The meeting came at a time Turkey and Israel are expected to announce a deal to normalize their ties.
Turkey has demanded Israel fulfill three conditions prior to any normalization in ties, namely, an apology for Israel’s raid on the Mavi Marmara aid convoy in 2010 that killed 10 Turkish activists, compensation to the families of the deceased and an end to the embargo on Gaza.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on June 22 that Turkey’s ties with Hamas, considered a terrorist group by Israel, Egypt, EU countries and United States, was not a subject in the talks.
“Our discussions with Hamas were never a secret from the very beginning. Suggestions we have made to Hamas leaders are also not a secret. On one side, we are trying to make a contribution to the Middle East peace process. We know that we haven’t been able to make this contribution adequately because our relations with Israel went off track. But everybody who has been paying attention to the Middle East issue, all of the countries and Israel, today acknowledge that there can be no permanent peace or solution without Hamas,” Çavuşoğlu said.