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Erdogan: preparo un viaggio a Gaza

Erdogan: voglio andare a Gaza. Dal New York Times del 2.11.12:

Turkish Leader Says He Plans a Trip to Gaza Soon

JERUSALEM — The prime minister of TurkeyRecep Tayyip Erdogan, said Friday that he planned to soon visit the Gaza Strip, a move that would significantly enhance the legitimacy of the Hamas-controlled Gaza government and antagonize the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the West.

Mr. Erdogan, who twice last year scheduled and then canceled visits to Gaza, did not offer specifics as to the timing or agenda for such a visit, which he mentioned to reporters traveling with him to Ankara from Berlin, according to the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman. A Foreign Ministry official later said that the prime minister was simply expressing an “intention” and that he wanted to visit “someday.”

His comments came nine days after the emir of Qatar became the first head of state to step foot in Gaza since the Islamic group Hamas took it over in 2007, pledging $400 million for development projects including housing complexes, road renovation and a prosthetic hospital. The crown prince of Bahrain was scheduled to visit thePalestinian enclave on Thursday but canceled at the last minute to avoid political implications, according to reports in the Arab press.

A visit by the leader of Turkey, a huge power that is a member of NATO and a critical bridge between the West and the Islamic world, would make a much bigger diplomatic splash, paving the way for Egypt and others to expand direct, independent relationships with Hamas and further divide the Palestinian leadership. Officials in the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, the Hamas rival that rules in the West Bank, had warned that the Qatari mission set a dangerous precedent.

“We don’t want anybody to have two addresses in Palestine,” Yasir Abed Rabbo, a spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, said Friday night. “We don’t want anybody also to encourage the people in Gaza to have a separatist approach.”

Both Turkey and Qatar have tried to help repair the rift between Hamas and Fatah, the party of the Palestinian Authority, and some analysts suggested Friday that Mr. Erdogan would make such reconciliation a focus if he visits. On the plane, according to Today’s Zaman, Mr. Erdogan said that he had once invited Mr. Abbas to accompany him to Gaza, and that “he was warm to the suggestion.” But Mr. Rabbo balked at that notion, saying: “Nobody can invite us to go to our own country. This is unacceptable.”

Turkey has been a strong ally and significant donor to the Palestinian Authority, but also an important friend of Gaza. It was a Turkish flotilla whose 2010 attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza ended in an Israeli raid that killed nine people aboard the Mavi Marmara; that incident, in turn, led to the downgrading of diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey, which in May indicted four high-ranking Israeli officials for their rolesin the raid.

The renewed attention on Gaza comes at a critical time for the Palestinian Authority. Allies of Mr. Abbas are feverishly trying to garner international support for a bid to gain “non-member state” status in the United Nations General Assembly. The Palestinian Authority is struggling with a severe financial crisis that led its prime minister, Salam Fayyad, to suggest this week dissolving and reforming his cabinet. And last month’smunicipal elections revealed growing rivalries within Fatah.

“It’s a slap in the face,” Ehud Yaari, a Middle East analyst for Israel’s Channel 2 news, said of Mr. Erdogan’s plan. “The P.A. has been steadily losing support in the Arab world. It is losing its cohesion. They are losing ground.”

Alon Liel, who led Israel’s diplomatic mission to Turkey in the 1980s, said a visit by Mr. Erdogan would “dramatically change the image of the regime” in Gaza, and “deepen the grievances that the Israeli public has towards Turkey.” But he predicted that Mr. Erdogan would try to “compensate” the Palestinian Authority by helping with its United Nations bid.

“Erdogan feels closer to Hamas than to Fatah because Hamas is religious,” Mr. Liel noted. “By definition he will always prefer a religious leadership to a secular leadership. But it’s important for him not to humiliate Abbas. He will try to balance it.”

Ghassan Khatib, a professor at Birzeit University in Ramallah, in the West Bank, who formerly served as spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, agreed, noting that Mr. Abbas had recently visited Turkey.

“If these countries are maintaining good official relations with the P.A. and the P.L.O. and at the same time giving support to Gaza, including going to Gaza, I don’t see that this is problematic,” Mr. Khatib said. “Giving support to Gaza can also be understood as an attempt to help this part of Palestinians that are facing especially difficult pressure.”

Tim Arango contributed reporting from Istanbul.


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