Erdogan Says He Plans a Trip to Gaza Soon
The prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Friday that he planned to soon visit the Gaza Strip, a move that would significantly enhance the legitimacy of the Hamas-controlled Gaza government and antagonize the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the West.
Turkish newspapers reported Friday that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, would travel to Gaza—the first visit by a representative of a NATO country.
Mr. Erdogan, who twice last year scheduled and then canceled visits to Gaza, did not offer specifics as to the timing or agenda for such a visit, which he mentioned to reporters traveling with him to Ankara from Berlin, according to the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman. A Foreign Ministry official later said that the prime minister was simply expressing an “intention” and that he wanted to visit “someday.”
His comments came nine days after the emir of Qatar became the first head of state to step foot in Gaza since the Islamic group Hamas took it over in 2007, pledging $400 million for development projects including housing complexes, road renovation and a prosthetic hospital. The crown prince of Bahrain was scheduled to visit the Palestinian enclave on Thursday but canceled at the last minute to avoid political implications, according to reports in the Arab press.