News / Middle East

Abbas Seeks Support in Turkey

Turkey's President Abdullah Gul (background) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) walk, at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, July 18, 2014.
Turkey's President Abdullah Gul (background) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) walk, at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, July 18, 2014.
Dorian Jones

The leader of the Palestinian Authority Mahmud Abbas is scheduled to visit Turkey Friday, amid an ongoing ground offensive by Israel in Gaza. The ruling AK Party has strong ties with Hamas, but is facing accusations of meddling in cease-fire efforts. Friday saw renewed protests in Turkey against Israel.

Palestinian authority leader Abbas’s visit to Turkey is part of a short tour of regional countries and is being seen as an effort to consolidate support for the Palestinians amid an ongoing offensive by Israeli forces in Gaza.

Semih Idiz, a diplomatic columnist for the Turkish newspaper Taraf and the Al Monitor website, says bbas will receive strong support from Ankara but says the Turkish government will keep Hamas informed of the meetings.

"He is wanting to appear to rally support for the Palestinians at a time like this," he said. "But as Mahmud Abbas is Ankara talking to Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul we hear that Foreign Minister Davutoglu is on the phone to Khaled Meshaal the political leader of Hamas to reassure that talks with Abbas are not excluding Hamas."

Turkey’s ruling AK Party, which has its roots in Islamist politics, has close ties with the political Hamas leadership that controls Gaza. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in the forefront of condemning Israel for its attack on Gaza. After attending Friday prayers he launched another verbal assault against Israel.

He says Israel is a country that threatens world peace. He told reporters it has never favored peace, Israel is committing genocide, adding the Western reaction might be different. But he says I have never tried to look sympathetic to dominant powers and I never will.

Observers point out, with Erdogan running for the presidency in August elections, such a tough stance is likely to play well with his religious grass roots supporters. In Istanbul thousands protested Israel after Friday prayers.

The protest follows similar large demonstrations on Thursday night against Israel’s diplomatic missions in Istanbul and Ankara. Despite the intervention by security forces, buildings sustained damage and drew a strong rebuke from Israel calling it a blatant breach of diplomatic regulations.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Israel is reducing its presence to a diplomatic minimum, with the withdrawal of diplomats and their families. Bilateral relations are already at an all time low, following the killing 4 years ago of 9 Turkish activists aboard a ship seeking to break an Israeli economic embargo of the Gaza strip. Distrust between the countries was underlined with Tel Aviv-backed by Cairo accusing Ankara of being behind Hamas rejecting a proposed cease-fire.

Diplomatic columnist Idiz says Ankara has done little about such accusations but says there may be unrealistic expectations over its influence.  

"There has been no official denial of the accusations, but some expected it could use some pressure on Hamas to stop it attacking Israel with these rockets," he said. "There is general assumption that it could have influence over Hamas. But things seem so out of hand that I don’t think any pressure from Turkey, or Qatar for that matter, which also has close ties with Hamas, could stop the crisis."

Ankara’s relations with Cairo remain strained since the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, a key ally of Erdogan. The Turkish Foreign Ministry, despite repeated attempts, refused to comment on Cairo’s accusations.

According to some reports, Abbas could call on Ankara to use its influence to persuade Hamas to soften its stance. But Erdogan has strongly condemned Arab leaders for failing to take a tougher stance against Israel. Observers warn regional rivalries are threatening to only complicate an already extremely difficult effort to bring an end to ongoing fighting.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs