Hamas Head Meshal Calls for Turkish-Palestinian Unity in Surprise Speech

Calls for greater co-operation in 'fight to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem,' after introduction by Turkish PM at governing party's annual event.

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Haaretz
 Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader, in Amman, Jordan in 2009.
Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader, in Amman, Jordan in 2009. Credit: AP
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Haaretz

Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas' political bureau, made a surprise appearance at an event held by Turkey's governing party AKP on Saturday, in which he praised the Turkish leadership and called for greater Turkish-Palestinian co-operation in the "fight to liberate Jerusalem," Turkey's Hurriyet reported.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davotoglu warmly introduced Meshal to a fawning crowd at the Justice and Development Party's annual congress at Konya, according to the report.

Meshal enthusiastically praised the Turkish leadership and expressed hopes Turkey would in the future join the Palestinian people in their fight to "liberate Palestine and Jerusalem."

"A strong Turkey means a strong Palestine ... Inshallah, God is with us and with you on the road to victory," Meshal told the crowd, many of whom were waving the Turkish and Palestinian flags, the report stated.

Shortly after assuming Turkey's primership in August, Davutoglu said that progress in the normalization of relations with Israel would only be possible if Israel ended its restrictions on the Strip.

Turkey was once a close ally of Israel, but former prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a strident critic of its treatment of the Palestinians.

Earlier this month, Israel rejected a proposal to have a Turkish floating power-generating ship stationed off the coast of the Gaza Strip coast to help solve the Strip's electricity crisis.

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