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Turkey condemns US demand to postpone Prime Minister's visit to Gaza

January 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Deputy Turkish Prime Minister Poland Areng has condemned the demand of US Secretary of State John Kerry that Recep Tayyip Erdogan postpone his visit to the Gaza Strip planned next May.

“This demand is condemned,” Areng, the spokesman of the Turkish government told journalists.

“From a diplomatic point of view, Mr Kerry’s demand is condemned, false and incorrect. The Turkish Government is the sole party which has the right to decide when and where the Prime Minister or any Turkish official travels.”

Erdogan announced last week that he is to visit Gaza at the end of next May. He repeatedly said that lifting the Israeli siege on Gaza is a condition to regaining full diplomatic ties with Israel.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and the US said that they are against this visit. The US said that any assistance or support for Palestinians in Gaza should be carried out through the official representatives, the PA.

The PA claims that visits of officials to the Gaza Strip reinforce internal Palestinian division because the Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamic Palestinian Movement Hamas.

Hamas drove Fatah and PA security out of Gaza in 2007 after one and half years of chaos following Hamas’ victory in the elections of Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006.