Hamas chief holds talks with Turkish FM: Sources

AFP , Sunday 21 Jan 2024

Hamas's Qatar-based chief Ismail Haniyeh has held a meeting with the Turkish foreign minister, diplomatic sources said Sunday, in the first official contact between the two for more than three months.

Qatar-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
Qatar-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. AFP


Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met with Haniyeh on Saturday in Turkey, the sources said.

The main topics of discussion were surrounding the release of the remaining captives held by Hamas, along with the establishment of "a ceasefire as quickly as possible" in the Gaza Strip, according to one of the sources.

The source said that during the meeting, the two sides also discussed "increasing humanitarian aid... and a two-state solution for a permanent peace".

Fidan and Haniyeh last had official contact in a phone call on October 16.

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza says at least 24,927 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in the besieged territory.

Israel says around 132 hostages remain in Gaza, of whom at least 27 are believed to have been killed, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Istanbul served as a base for Hamas political leaders before Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. Turkey asked the Hamas chiefs to leave after some were captured on video celebrating the unprecedented offensive.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has since turned into one of the Muslim world's harshest critics of the scale of death and destruction happening in Gaza.

Erdogan has compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler and accused the United States of sponsoring the "genocide" of Palestinians.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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