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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hamas says Erdogan will visit Gaza on Friday

From the Qassam Brigades terror group website:

Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to visit the Gaza Strip on 5th July, Abdulsalam Siyam, the secretary of the Gaza government, said.

The website of Palestine newspaper quoted Siyam on Thursday as saying that two Turkish government and media delegations arrived in Gaza in the past two days and discussed preparations for the visit.

He said that the delegations met with premier Ismail Haneyya and foreign undersecretary Ghazi Hamad to discuss the visit.

Siyam said that both delegations confirmed the date of the visit unless an emergency took place, adding that itinerary of the historic visit would be disused with the visiting delegates over the next two days.
The latest statement from Erdogan was that he planned a "surprise" visit:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he could make a surprise at any time regarding his visit to Hamas-controlled Gaza.

During his visit to Washington last month, Erdoğan said that the visit will probably take place in June and include the West Bank. “Gaza is ready. We cannot ready ourselves because of incidents. We can make a surprise at any time,” Erdoğan said today [Tuesday] in Ankara.
But Turkey denied any specific date:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Gaza is on the agenda, but no date has yet been set, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said today.

“No speculation should be made about the date,” Davutoğlu said at a joint press conference with visiting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara, expressing his wish that the “visit to Palestine takes place in the shortest and most correct time.”
Al Monitor says that Erdogan's planned visit is meant to burnish his populist credentials in Turkey:
Some Western diplomats are pointing to the fact that local, presidential and general elections in Turkey are not far down the road, and linking Erdogan’s position on Hamas and Israel to the recent nationwide anti-government demonstrations in Turkey. They argue that his populist tendencies are becoming prominent again in view of these demonstrations.

“Erdogan clearly feels he has to act according to the sentiments of his Islamist supporters who revere Hamas and abhor Israel as a matter of course,” according to one such diplomat talking to Al-Monitor. “This makes a visit to Gaza necessary and improved ties with Israel a liability.”
That article quotes AFP as saying that the July 5th date is not accurate. It also discusses how Turkey is reneging on its deal with Israel in wake of the apology for the Mavi Marmara.