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Erdogan discusses ceasefire with Hamas Chief


Istanbul, April 20 (IANS/DPA) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Palestinian militant organization Hamas’ political bureau, in Istanbul on Saturday to discuss a ceasefire in the ongoing Gaza war, state broadcaster TRT reported.

The two discussed Israeli attacks on Palestinian soil, as well as steps for the “adequate and uninterrupted” supply of aid to Gaza and for a “fair and lasting” peace in the region, Erdogan’s communication office wrote on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.There was no mention of the Israeli hostages in official Turkish statements.Turkey is committed to diplomatic efforts for an “immediate ceasefire” and the end of “massacres” in Gaza, Erdogan told Haniyeh, the statement on X read.Erdogan urged unity among Palestinian factions for a path to establishing their own state.The Turkish leader also said the recent escalation between Iran and Israel should not divert global attention away from Gaza.Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and intelligence chief Ibrahim Kalın joined the meeting, the report said.Earlier on Saturday, Fidan urged the “end of Israeli occupation” and a return to talks on a “two-state solution” during a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart in Istanbul.Further details about the nature of the discussions were not immediately clear.Haniyeh met Fidan in Qatar on Wednesday for talks on a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages, according to the Turkish state news agency Anadolu.Erdogan publicly endorses Hamas. Earlier this week, he likened Hamas to Turkish independence fighters against Western armies in Anatolia in the 1920s, during a parliamentary address.In the same address, the Turkish leader attacked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over what he called an ongoing “massacre” in Gaza. Israel firmly rejects Erdogan’s statements.Despite the president’s verbal attacks, Turkey has recently stepped up its efforts to play a mediating role in the Gaza war.Negotiations mediated primarily by the United States, Qatar and Egypt have so far failed.The war began after more than 1,200 people were killed in the massacre carried out by Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups in Israel on October 7. Numerous people were also taken hostage from Israel to the Gaza Strip. There are still 133 people being held there, only some of whom are probably still alive.Israel responded with massive airstrikes and a ground offensive in Gaza, with more than 33,000 people killed in the strip according to figures from the Hamas-run Health Ministry.In view of the high number of civilian casualties and the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the strip, Israel is being increasingly criticized internationally – even by close partners.–IANS/DPAdan/

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