Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stated that he intends to visit the Gaza Strip soon, to express solidarity with the Palestinian people.Erdogan told the Today’s Zaman Turkish daily that he will be inviting Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, to accompany him to the coastal region, to end internal divisions between the rival Fateh and Hamas movements.

As for Turkish-Israeli relations, Erdogan stated that lifting the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza is one of the Turkish demands to restore the Turkish-Israeli relations, and added that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, sent letters through foreign diplomats in an attempt to mend the relations between the two countries.

Talking to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, Erdogan stated that the crisis in the Turkish-Israeli relations, and the Palestinian-Israeli relations, are all related to Israeli violations against the Palestinian people, and Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza.

He said that the Turkish relations with Tel Aviv cannot be mended before Israel abides by three main conditions; lifting the siege on Gaza, apologizing to Turkey and paying compensation to the families of the Turkish nationals who were killed by the Israeli army when Israeli soldiers pirated the MV Marara solidarity ship, that was heading to Gaza, In late May 2010, killing nine Turkish activists.

Erdogan will be the second senior leader to visit the Gaza Strip as, last week, the Prince of Qatar,
Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, visited the coastal region to express solidarity with the Palestinian people, and to challenge Israel’s illegal siege.