In Sign of Warming Ties, Turkey FM Reportedly Meets Hamas Chief

Davutoglu and Meshal discuss ways to break Israeli siege on Gaza, Palestinian reconciliation efforts, and Turkey's demands in aftermath of flotilla raid, according to Anatolia news agency.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshal in Damascus on Monday, signaling a tightening of relations between Israel's once-close ally and its arch enemy.

The two discussed during their meeting methods to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Turkish news agency Anatolia reported. Davotuglu reportedly promised Meshal that his country would continue to make every effort to see the siege lifted.

Turkey Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Hamas political chief Khaled MeshalCredit: Archive

The two also spoke about Hamas' reconciliation efforts with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' rival Fatah faction and the Middle East peace process, according to Anatolia.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have been extremely tense of recently, due to the prior's deadly May 31 raid on a Turkish-flagged ship carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Turkey has demanded that Israel apologize and compensate the families of the nine Turkish victims, a move which Israel has refused.

During their meeting, Meshal reportedly applauded Turkey for standing up to "Israeli aggression" and welcomed its justified demand for compensation.

Davutoglu also met during his one-day visit with Syrian President Bashar Assad, with whom he issued a joint call for further action to bring an end to the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.

A Syrian news agency reported that Davutoglu and Assad also discussed "additional accelerated efforts" to establish an international and independent investigation Israel's raid on the Gaza flotilla.

In a statement issued after their meeting – in which Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri also took part - they emphasized the importance of reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions as well.

On Saturday, Assad declared that Syria's "greatest hope" of achieving peace with Israel was Turkish mediation. Turkey, which previously mediated four indirect rounds of peace talks between Israel and Syria, has fallen out of favor as a go-between due to its strained ties with Israel in the wake of the Gaza flotilla raid.



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