Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday stressed that he consulted with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh before signing the reconciliation agreement with Israel.
Speaking at a post-Ramadan iftar dinner in Istanbul and quoted by the Daily Sabah newspaper, Erdogan said, “Our main concern is Gazans and we made our consultations with Khaled Mashaal, Mahmoud Abbbas and Ismail Haniyeh while making the deal with Israel.”
Just days before the agreement was signed, Turkish media reported that Erdogan met Mashaal in Istanbul, though exact details of that meeting were not released.
Despite his alleged consultations with Hamas, however, leaders of the Gaza-based group hinted they were dissatisfied with the agreement.
A Hamas official who spoke to the Chinese Xinhua news agency after the agreement was announced, said that Hamas leaders are unhappy with the details of the agreement, because it maintains the naval blockade on the coastal enclave.
"I think it is still very early to make a judgment on the agreement. Our ties with Turkey are strategic and won't be influenced by this agreement," said the official, adding that his movement considers the deal "an internal Turkish affair and [the] Hamas movement won't intervene in it."