World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will soon pay a visit to Gaza, Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh announced on Saturday following an apology from Israel over a 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
“Today, I announce to you the good news that Erdogan will visit Gaza very soon,” Haniyeh said, speaking at a commemoration ceremony for Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004.
Haniyeh further stated that Erdogan talked to Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on the phone, saying Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to "lift the siege on the Palestinian people."
On Friday, Netanyahu offered an apology to Turkey for a 2010 raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid flotilla that resulted in the deaths of eight Turks and a Turkish American, ending a deep crisis in ties between the two former allies. He also said Israel has agreed to pay compensation to the families of the victims and that Israel and Turkey agree to work together to improve the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories.
The breakthrough came as a result of what appears to be a US bid to normalize relations between the two former allies. News of the apology came just after President Barack Obama said that Erdoğan and Netanyahu spoke on the phone on Friday. The announcement came hours after Obama wrapped up a visit to Israel.
In a statement, Hamas applauded Erdoğan for having won an apology from Israel.
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The reception at the Presidential Palace has been cancelled due to the mine accident in central Anatolia, where at least 18 miners remain trapped underground