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Erdogan to Haniyeh: Hamas Must Be Part of Negotiations

Hamas' Prime Minister meets Turkey's Prime Minister in Istanbul. Erdogan says Hamas should be part of peace talks.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/2/2012, 4:12 AM

Gaza chieftain Ismail Haniyeh
Gaza chieftain Ismail Haniyeh
Flash 90

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on Sunday with Hamas’ Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, in his residence in Istanbul.

The visit was part of Haniyeh’s first official regional tour since Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007. The tour has already included stops in Egypt and Sudan.

According to reports from sources in the Palestinian Authority who were quoted by Channel 10 News, the two leaders discussed during the meeting the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas and plans for rehabilitation of Gaza.

One source was quoted by Channel 10 as having said that Erdogan told Haniyeh during the meeting said that ending the conflict with the “occupation” will not be possible without Hamas’ participation in the negotiations.

Erdogan’s comments came following reports earlier on Sunday that Jordan would be mediating talks between Israel and the PA. The reports, which were later confirmed, said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy, attorney Yitzhak Molho, will head to Amman on Tuesday where he will meet PA negotiator Saeb Erekat and representatives of the Quartet.

Jordan and the PA have made it clear that the meeting is not a renewal of peace negotiations, but rather would be a discussion to clarify the attitudes of both sides regarding a possible resumption of direct negotiations.

According to the PA sources, Erdogan and Haniyeh also discussed “the vicious attack against Jerusalem and the ‘Judaization’ of the city.”

The comments come after last week during his visit to Egypt, Haniyeh called on Arab leaders to stop the 'Judaization' of Jerusalem.