Hosting Abbas, Erdogan says he won’t stay silent on ‘Israeli oppression’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul Saturday to discuss bilateral ties, reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to reports.

The closed-door meeting took place at the Vahdettin Pavilion in Istanbul, an official residence assigned to the president of Turkey. There, the two leaders discussed regional developments and steps to strengthen bilateral ties, Turkey’s Communications Directorate said, according to the Anadolu News Agency.

“It will not be possible to establish lasting peace and stability in the region as long as Israel’s policies continue,” Erdogan said Saturday, according to the news agency.

The Turkish president, a vocal critic of Israel, added that Ankara will not remain silent against what he described as the “Israeli oppression” of Palestinians, Anadolu reported.

Erdogan also voiced his satisfaction over the positive course of bilateral relations with the Palestinian Authority, the report said.

The meeting between Abbas and Erdogan lasted for just over an hour, during which the two discussed the humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as efforts to bring about reconciliation between the various Palestinian factions, the Ynet news site reported.

Rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, have previously met in Istanbul for talks aimed at ending the 16-year-long rift in Palestinian politics.

Erdogan has been a vocal champion of the Palestinian cause during his 18-year rule. He has accused Israel of “terrorism” against the Palestinians and recently said, “It is in their nature.”

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