Turkey's Erdogan
Photo: Reuters
Erdogan: Hamas vital to peace talks
Future of negotiations depends on Palestinian unity and inclusion of Hamas, claims Turkey's PM; 'Israel must retreat to 1967 line,' he says in Washington

WASHINGTON - There is no way forward in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations without including Hamas in the talks, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed in a speech in Washington on Friday.


"The process of unity between Fatah and Hamas, this has to be achieved. If this reconciliation is not achieved, then I don't believe that a solution or result will come out of the Israeli-Palestinian discussions," Erdogan told a Washington think-tank during a visit to the United States.


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Erdogan also announced his intentions of visiting Gaza and the West Bank as soon as next month, in order to promote a Palestinian unity accord, and stressed that Turkey has much to offer to the burgeoning unity, going as far as saying that Turkey cares for the issue as if it was a inter-Turkish affair.


Erdogan also advised that for peace to be reached, Israel must retreat to the 1967 line. According to Erdogan, former PM Ehud Olmert and he were in agreement about this, though the present administration is of a different opinion.


"As long as Israel does not accept Palestine as a state, there is not much to talk about in terms of trying to achieve peace," Erdogan said.


Regarding the Syrian crisis and the American policy on the issue, the Turkish PM was careful: "It is not a decision that could be taken between the United States and Turkey. It is something that would have to come through the UN Security Council.


"We are in the process of putting together a conference in Geneva ... If that process decides on such a zone, as Turkey we would also do whatever is necessary," he said.



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