Abbas's visit to Turkey aims to involve Ankara in region's peace process

Abbas's visit to Turkey aims to involve Ankara in region's peace process

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 17 / Trend , U.Sadikhova/

Mahmoud Abbas's visit to Turkey aimed at strengthening the role of Ankara in the Middle East peace process, as well as influencing on the Israeli position in negotiations with the Palestinians.

"The Palestinians, regarding the internal split and problems with the current government of Netanyahu, need a pressure of external forces on Israel's position," Leading Analyst on the Middle East Politics Hassan Attiya told Trend in a telephone conversation from London." Recently, Turkey's role has considerably increased in the policies and the peace process of the Middle East."

On July 16, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visited Turkey, where he will hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul, and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davudoglu, CNN Turk reported.

The meeting will discuss the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, as well as the internal Palestinian dialogue between the ruling Fatah party and the Palestinian Hamas movement, which runs through Egypt's mediation.

Abbas's visit gives him a good opportunity to discuss the negotiations with the Palestinians and Israelis with the Turkish government, which supported the Palestinian Authority during the recent Israeli military action in Gaza, Turkish Leading Analyst on the Middle East Hosni Mahalli told Trend over telephone from Istanbul.

In February at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan sharply condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza that claimed the lives of over 1,600 Palestinians.

Attiya said Turkey's active role with Erdogan's efforts in the peace talks gives the Palestinians hope for pressure on Israel by other countries, including Turkey, but this is unlikely to lead to success.

Turkey is one of the few Muslim countries recognized Israel and have diplomatic relations with it.

However, Abbas's visit takes place on the background of his statements during a news conference in the capital of the Greek part of Cyprus Nicosia, where he said he "supports unifications of the Turkish part with the Greek."

Cyprus was divided in 1974 after the coup d'etat in the south of the island. Turkey as a member of NATO brought troops in Cyprus to support the Turkish people, after which the island has been divided into the Greek and Turkish parts.

A 30,000-member Turkish Army is still deployed in the north of the island.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has not been recognized by the international community, including the UN.

The UN Security Council calls for unification of Cyprus with the establishment of bi-zonal and bi-community - Greek and Turkish federations.

But Abbas' statements did not cause complications in the relations with Turkey and the Palestinians, as they were not directed against the Turkish government.

The Greek part of Cyprus is a member of the UN. Therefore, the Palestinian president made a speech in accordance with the position of the organization to resolve the problems of the island, said Attiya. Turkey is interested in addressing the issue of the island at the UN positions, he added.

Ankara is for holding the referendum in Cyprus for the final solution of the issue of unification, but the problem of presidency remains open.

Mahalli believes that the incorrect interpretation of Abbas's speech may be directed to the deterioration of Palestinians' relations with Turkey.

He added that even Turkey's support for the Palestinian Hamas movement, which represents the opposition in Abbas's government, will not complicate Ankara's relations with Fatah.

Turkey was one of the first countries of the Muslim and European region urging Hamas to join the peace process with Israel. Followed by Turkey, some European Union countries also urged the Palestinian movement, recognized by Israel as a terrorist to participate in the negotiations.

In 2006, on the backdrop of the scandal between Fatah and Hamas after the latter's victory in the parliamentary elections, Turkey invited the head of a political bureau Khaled Mashaal to Ankara and recognized the legitimacy of Hamas.

Attiya said Turkey's position in this issue is not directed against Fatah, because many European countries launched talks with Hamas.

Switzerland has recently met with former Foreign Minister in the Hamas government Mahmoud Zakhar.

"Turkey's position is fully consistent with the policies of European countries that consider the negotiations with the movement as necessary," Attiya stressed.

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