Hamas political leader in Turkiye for an official interview

Hamas political leader in Türkiye for an official interview

Qatar-based Palestinian Hamas leader Ismaïl Haniyeh met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Turkey on Saturday, diplomatic sources said on Sunday, without specifying the exact location of the meeting.

According to the sources, the “release of the hostages” and “the establishment of a ceasefire as quickly as possible” were at the center of the discussions.

The last official telephone contact between the two officials was on October 16th.

“During the meeting, issues such as establishing a ceasefire in Gaza as soon as possible, increasing humanitarian aid, releasing hostages and a two-state solution for lasting peace were discussed,” the sources said.

From the beginning of the conflict, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered to mediate between Hamas, which he said was a “liberation movement,” and Israel, which he repeatedly described as a “terrorist state.”

But so far the discussions have mainly been led by Qatar and Egypt.

Despite Ankara's fervent support for the Palestinian cause, Turkish authorities had discreetly asked Hamas leaders present in Turkey to leave their territory following an unprecedented attack on Israeli soil on October 7 that killed 1,140 people, mostly civilians. were killed.

In that operation, about 250 people were taken hostage and taken to Gaza, about 100 of whom were released in late November as part of a ceasefire. According to Israel, 132 people remain imprisoned, of whom 27 are believed to have died.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to destroy Hamas by relentlessly bombing the Gaza area, which Hamas has ruled since 2007.

According to Hamas, the bombings killed nearly 25,000 people, mostly civilians who were deprived of food, water and health care.