Turkey may provide Hamas with $300 million in annual aid, Turkish sources report. The aid would take place of Iranian funding, which has been significantly reduced.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reportedly received assurances to this effect during his recent visit to Turkey.
Haniyeh was warmly received earlier this month by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was cheered when he visited the Turkish parliament. Turkey supports reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas and Turkish sources report that the Erdogan government has promised to seriously aid the reconciliation process.
According to Turkish sources, Haniyeh laid out in detail for Erdogan the financial difficulties Hamas is currently facing, after payments from Iran, that had totaled $250-$300 annually, did not arrive on time and were cut significantly. This led to Hamas not being able to pay the salaries of employees.
The same sources reported that Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal has left Syria for good and is considering putting the organization's headquarters in Qatar or Jordan.
On Saturday, President Shimon Peres accused Turkey of funding Hamas.
Meshal is expected to meet on Sunday with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman but it was publicly announced that the visit does not have "political implications and does not signal a change in Jordan's political agenda". Abdullah, who visited the U.S. last week and met with U.S. President Barack Obama, was told in the strongest terms that the U.S. viewed gravely the possibility that Hamas would put its headquarters in Jordan.
At the same time, Iran invited Haniyeh on an official visit to Iran, without setting a date. It is unclear if Iran intends to support Haniyeh as a replacement for Meshal - if Meshal in fact retires from the organization's leadership – just as Haniyeh has not made if he will visit Iran. Within Hamas, discussions have been held recently on the group's future international ties, the purpose of which is to determine whether Hamas will return to the "Arab bosom", meaning that it would disengage from Iran and embrace ties with countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, or whether it will try to have it both ways without cutting ties with Iran.
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