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Turkish PM Erdogan to visit Gaza to reconcile Hamas, Palestinian Authority

In an interview with the Turkish daily Zaman, he said that his visit would try to help reconcile Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which have been at odds in recent years.

Turkey pm tayyip erdogan 10 12 2012Enlarge
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan arrives in the stands before the FIFA World Cup 2014 qualification football match between Turkey and Romania in Istanbul, on October 12, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that he plans to visit the Gaza strip soon.

In an interview with the Turkish daily Zaman, he said that his visit would try to help reconcile Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which have been at odds in recent years.

Erdogan said that he had offered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accompany him on the trip.

Abbas, he said, was warm to the suggestion.

Erdogan's remarks came after returning from a trip to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

According to the New York Times, Erdogan said that Merkel had urged him to normalize ties between Turkey and Israel, which had frayed since the the war in Gaza in 2009 and after Turkish citizens were killed on a ship bound for Gaza to bring supplies.

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Erdogan said that the blockade of Gaza had to be lifted to bring peace.

“It is impossible that our relations will be mended unless these demands are realized,” Zaman quoted Erdogan as saying, reported the Jerusalem Post.

“We said this to Merkel.”

The US was not happy with the announcement by Erdogan and said that the visit could undermine peace.

"This visit will not be favorable to advance the cause of peace and security in the region," said US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, according to Albawaba News.

"We urge all parties to play a constructive role to bring all parties to the negotiation table."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/121103/turkish-pm-erdogan-visit-gaza-reconcil