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Gaza Interior Minister makes official visit to Ankara to discuss cooperation

February 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Palestinian Interior Minister in Gaza, Fathi Hammad, arrived in Istanbul on Wednesday in an official visit to the Turkish Interior Ministry. The purpose of Hammad’s visit was primarily to ask for assistance in improving the work of the police and security services in Gaza, Al-Quds Al-Arabi said.

Hamad’s visit comes a few weeks ahead of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s planned visit to the Gaza Strip. Erdogan is insistent on carrying out his visit despite demands by US and Palestinian Authority officials to cancel it. Israel too has criticised the planned.

At Istanbul Airport, Hammad was received by Istanbul’s Deputy Mayor. The interior Minister travelled directly to Ankara to meet several Turkish officials, including the Turkish Interior Minister, to discuss the kind of help Turkey could offer Gaza’s interior ministry.

The Director of the Information Office for the Palestinian Interior Ministry, Iyad al-Bozom, told Al-Quds Al-Arabi that Hammad’s visit mainly aims at discussing potential cooperation between the interior ministries of the two countries.

Al-Bozom ruled out the discussion of arrangements regarding Erdogan’s visit to Gaza, but said that it could possibly be discussed on the margin of one of the meetings between Hammad and Turkish officials. There are no signs of arrangement for Erdgoan’s visit taking place in Gaza.

Regarding the kind of support Hammad is seeking from Turkey, Al-Bozom told Al-Quds Al-Arabi: “We will put forward all files related to developing the security services and their equipment.”

Al-Bozom pointed out that the Turkish interior ministry welcomed the visit and promised to offer the necessary assistance to help improve the work of the ministry in Gaza.

Recently, the Turkish Prime Minister announced that he is to visit the Gaza Strip at the end of this May coming.

Erdogan confirmed his intention to make this visit during a televised speech delivered last week. The event was attended by the agriculture minister in Gaza and Turkish NGO workers celebrating the completion of Turkish support projects.

US secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas both officially asked Erdogan, during separate meetings with him in Ankara, to cancel his visit or postpone it until Palestinian reconciliation is achieved.

The Prime Minister refused both requests and, according to senior Turkish officials, insisted that his visit take place on time.

Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyyah, welcomed Erdogan’s stance on the visit saying: “Erdogan’s insistence on going ahead with his visit to Gaza affirms the end of American hegemony in the region.”

Meanwhile, Yahya Mosa, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council for the Hamas block asserted that Abbas’ demands for Erdogan to cancel his visit to Gaza were in line with Israeli efforts to tighten the siege imposed on the Sector since 2006.