GeriGündem Hamas agrees to Turkish force at border between Gaza and Egypt
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Hamas agrees to Turkish force at border between Gaza and Egypt

Hamas agrees to Turkish force at border between Gaza and Egypt
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Hamas is set to announce that it is willing to allow a Turkish force to deploy at Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, despite earlier insistence that it would treat any international presence along the border as an occupying force, according to a report on Tuesday. Turkey’s PM said there was a possibility that Israel would attend ceasefire talks in Egypt. (UPDATED)

Hamas would agree to a Turkish deployment of forces, because it "harbors respect to Turkey as an Islamic nation," a Hamas source told the London-based Arabic daily Al Hayat; Israel's Jerusalem Post reported.

Turkey has urged for the formation of an international monitoring force for Gaza and has said it is ready to participate. Turkey currently actively participates in peacekeeping missions in the West Bank city of Hebron and Lebanon in the Middle East, as well as in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

However, the details of the mission - where it would be located, what exactly it would do, who would be involved, what the role of the Palestinian Authority would be - were still being formulated. There is some talk about carving out a "neutral zone" along the border where the team would operate.

Hamas would only consent to the deployment of Turkish forces in the Strip if all of the crossings into Gaza are opened, Hamas sources told Al Hayat.

The group has resisted the idea of international monitors because it wants control of the Gaza border, and Egypt has opposed the presence of foreign forces on its soil as a violation of its sovereignty. Egypt would prefer that Fatah man the border on the Gaza side and does not believe it needs outside help to monitor its own crossing.

ISRAEL MAY ATTEND TALKS
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday Israel is also expected to join ceasefire talks in Egypt, adding this could make it closer to reach a solution.

"Talks are at a better phase when compared to two weeks ago. It is distressing that there is such a negative process despite the U.N. Security Council," he said when asked about some news reports that parties were coming closer to an agreement and that Turkish troops would ensure security of the tunnels.

"However, talks in Egypt progress at a positive direction in the past 3 days," he was quoted by the Anatolian Agency as saying.

Turkish officials are engaged in ongoing shuttle diplomacy in the region in a bid to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.

A Turkish delegation led by Ahmet Davutoglu, chief advisor to Erdogan, met both Egyptian and Hamas officials in Cairo and Damascus.

Diplomatic sources say Turkey is playing a key role in the talks because Hamas, due to its tensions with Egypt, currently has more confidence in Turkey than it does in Egypt.

According to the Israeli sources, in the current talks Turkey is acting as the mediator between Egypt and Hamas, and not between Hamas and Israel. One Israeli source said Israel's relationship with Turkey has been set back considerably because of Erdogan's extremely harsh criticisms of the Israeli military operations.

 

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