August 12, 2015 Ankara (AFP) – Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal held closed-door talks with Turkish leaders in Ankara late on Wednesday, officials said.
Meshaal, who often shows up at events hosted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
No statement was made to the press after the talks.
The visit came just weeks after Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon accused Turkey of hosting a senior member of the Islamist movement’s exiled leadership who was actively planning attacks.
Attempts to activate cells in the West Bank originate in ‘Hamas headquarters in Gaza and Istanbul, from where Salah Aruri plans severe attacks against us by proxies in the West Bank and in neighbouring countries,’ he said.
‘Salah Aruri is acting from Turkey — a NATO member, which at the same time allows a terror base on its territory,’ he charged.
Israeli media subsequently reported that Turkey had bowed to the US pressure and agreed to order Aruri to leave the country.
A Turkish official on Wednesday said that Aruri was not in Turkey.
‘He is not in Turkey according to information I have,’ he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.”
The GMBDW reported last week that Turkey had expelled Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri, possibly under US pressure related to the ongoing conflict with ISIS. In November 2014, we reported that Israel had arrested dozens of members of a Hamas terror network said to be funded and directed by Hamas officials in Turkey with al-Arouri in command.
In January 2015, we reported that Khaled Meshaal had attended another annual conference of the ruling Turkish AKP Party and met with the Turkish Prime Minister. According to an Israeli media report on that conference:
During a speech to officials and supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, Mashaal congratulated the people of Turkey “for having [Prime Minister Ahmet] Davuto?lu and President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an” as heads of state, adding that “a strong Turkey means a strong Palestine … Inshallah, God is with us and with you on the road to victory.”
“Inshallah we will liberate Palestine and Jerusalem again in the future,” Mashaal said.
The Hamas leader was introduced to the crowd gathered in the conservative Konya Province in central Anatolia for the annual event by Davutoglu himself. His speech was frequently interrupted by supporters shouting “down with Israel!” and “God is great!”
“A democratic, stable and developed Turkey is a source of power for all Muslims,” Mashaal went on, adding “I greet all the brave people who claim Jerusalem … Our flag is the symbol of all the oppressed in the world.”
The GMBDW reported in 2012 that Meshaal had attended that year’s annual AKP conference.
For a profile on Khaled Meshaal, go here.