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Turkey's Erdogan says he wants to visit Gaza

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Erdoğan said he wants to visit Gaza, but that plans are not definite yet.

Source : World Bulletin
Ankara | 19 Jul 2011

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the most popular figure across the Arab world due to his staunch support for Gazans, has said he is planning to visit Gaza after his trip to Egypt later this month.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday ahead of his visit to Turkish Cyprus, Erdogan said he wants to visit Gaza, but that plans are not definite yet.

"If conditions are right, I will consider a visit to Gaza," Erdoğan said, adding that the Turkish Foreign Ministry is currently working on it and that his plans to visit Gaza will be shaped according to the results of the ministry's preparations, Today's Zaman reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said in a televised interview last Wednesday that Erdogan is expected to proceed to Egypt after his visit to Turkish Cyprus. But he also said that his visit to Egypt will be in 10 days, or around July 23.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also planned to visit Gaza during his scheduled visit to Israel in 2009, but later changed his mind about the trip to the Jewish state because of Israeli objection to Davutoğlu's desire to also visit Gaza as well as other Palestinian territories.

Egypt said late in May that it will open its only crossing with the Gaza Strip, significantly easing a four-year blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory.

This gives Gaza Palestinians a way to freely enter and exit their territory for the first time since 2007, when Hamas overran the territory, and Israel and Egypt closed the crossings.

According to Today's Zaman senior Turkish officials traditionally visit Palestinian territories whenever they pay a visit to Israel. Yet, Israeli officials seemed to prefer that Davutoğlu not visit Israel as he insisted on also going to the Palestinian territories, Turkish media then reported.

 

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