The real reason why Erdogan did not go ahead with Gaza visit

[ 14/09/2011 – 09:50 AM ]

Placard reads: Children of Gaza are waiting for the visit of Erdogan, the leader

GAZA, (PIC)– Egyptians amassed outside the Cairo Opera House on Tuesday calling on visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to show support for the besieged Gaza Strip.

On Monday night, the PM made a television appearance expressing his deep desire to the visit the Gaza Strip but said he did not want to burden the Egyptians with the visit.

High-level diplomats said the reason why Erdogan decided not to take the trip to Gaza was because it would have put Egypt in a tight situation by him crossing the Rafah border crossing during the current diplomatic fallout with Israel.

The other reason was that Erdogan asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to go with him to Gaza during the visit together with Prime Minister Ismail Haneyya, the sources told the PIC.

They said Erdogan had spoken with Abbas prior to kicking off his recent tour of Arab Spring states to persuade him to go, but Abbas tried to dodge him on several occasions, saying that he would be busy in Egypt promoting the UN bid and with Arab League meetings.

According to Ibrahim al-Drawi, director of the Palestinian studies center in Cairo, Erdogan was also mulling over the possibility of visiting the Gaza Strip on board an aid convoy.

Meanwhile in Gaza, children gathered at the memorial of the Freedom Flotilla victims, Turks shot dead by Israeli commandos as they tried to defy Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. They raised pictures of PM Erdgoan, waved Turkish and Palestinian flags, and called on Erdogan to visit the Gaza Strip in solidarity with the Gazans living under Israeli siege for the past five years.


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