'Turkey wants to mediate Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks'
Al Jazeera: Ankara has formally requested that Egypt relinquish its role in Palestinian factional talks.
Turkey has formally requested to assume responsibility for inter-factional Palestinian talks, the pan-Arab satellite news network Al Jazeera reported on Thursday.
Ankara reportedly asked Egypt to relinquish its exclusive mediation role in discussions between the ruling Fatah movement headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamist Hamas organization.
The network reported that the Turkish government made the request to Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. Ankara also sent a message to Abbas stating its willingness to aid in advancing the Palestinian dialogue from the media eye.
Recently, Turkey has sought a greater role in Middle East diplomacy. It mediated indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria which were halted due to the Israeli military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
Reconciliatory talks between Hamas and Fatah are planned for August 25, but it remains unclear whether they will take place.
Tensions between the two factions are escalating after Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, denied Fatah members permission to travel to the West Bank to take part in an internal Fatah election.
The 400-odd Gazans want to go to Bethlehem, where they would be among 1,550 Fatah officials voting to elect the organization's leadership. But Hamas has announced it will not allow them to attend until "the issue of political arrests in the West Bank is resolved" - meaning, until Hamas men are released from Palestinian Authority prisons.
Hamas top official Mahmoud al-Zahar announced the travel ban was being imposed on the Fatah officials.
Egypt said Tuesday that the move by the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas to ban Fatah members in the Gaza Strip from traveling to a key party convention in the West Bank city of Bethlehem was "unacceptable."
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki condemned Hamas' decision as "regrettable" and "unacceptable."