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Hamas denounces US effort to set back Erdogan's visit to Gaza

February 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm

The Islamic Resistance Movement in Palestine – Hamas – denounced on Sunday the American call on Turkish Prime Minister Recpep Tayyip Erdogan to postpone his visit to the Gaza Strip.

“This is clear evidence of the American involvement in reinforcing the siege on Gaza,” Hamas spokesman Sami abu-Zuhri said. “It is an agreement between Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and US Secretary of State John Kerry to tighten the siege on Gaza.”

While in Istanbul, Kerry suggested on Sunday that the Turkish Prime Minister postpone his visit to Gaza scheduled next month.

After meeting Erdogan, Kerry told reporters: “With respect to the Prime Minister’s potential visit to Gaza, we have told the Prime Minister that we really think it would be better delayed and that it shouldn’t take place at this point in time for a number of different reasons.

“The Prime Minister obviously has a right to make decisions about what he does and where he goes but it was our feeling that the timing of the trip is really critical with respect to the peace process that we are trying to get off the ground.”

PA’s Abbas was in Istanbul over the weekend to also ask Erdogan to cancel his planned visit to Gaza. Abbas and Fatah believe that a visit of any officials to Gaza is a step that reinforces internal division.

“President Abbas is hoping to convince Erdogan to cancel the visit or delay it until the Palestinians achieve national unity,” a PA official in Ramallah told media at the weekend.

Yousof Rizqa, the political advisor for the Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza, ruled out that the US or PA would affect Erdogan’s decision to visit Gaza. He confirmed in a statement that the visit is still set to go ahead.