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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Turkey denies it is giving aid, a new HQ to Hamas

From Today's Zaman:

Turkey has dismissed claims that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will be moving to Turkey, adding that Turkey also didn't pledge aid to the Palestinian party.

Turkish government spokesman and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told a news conference on Monday following a Cabinet meeting that Mashaal's office being moved to Turkey is out of question. He added that news reports claiming the Turkish government would give the Palestinian group millions of dollars in aid are also not true.

In a response to a question about Hamas moving to Turkey after leaving Damascus, Arınç said Hamas is an organization that has been recognized by Turkey and has formed a government in the Palestinian territories following democratic elections in 2006. “Khaled Mashaal's stay in Turkey is out of question,” Arınç told reporters.

Mashaal recently visited Turkey which, unlike its fellow NATO members, recognizes Hamas as a legal political party.

Some diplomatic sources had stated that Turkey promised to provide Gazan Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's administration with $300 million to support its annual budget. The Turkish Foreign Ministry had earlier dismissed such reports.

Arınç noted that Turkey's goal is to realize peace process between Israel and united Palestinian political factions. He said Turkey is closely interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that Turkey believes strengthening the unity of Palestinians will benefit the Palestinian people. He underlined that Hamas and its leaders are “significant figures” in this process and that Turkey's relations with Hamas is limited only to what he said.
Turkey's rhetoric against Israel has gone significantly down in recent months. It even suspended all lawsuits against Israel over the Mavi Marmara.