Meeting between Erdoğan and Hamas officials; Egyptian Foreign Minister in Türkiye; Agreement between Türkiye and the World Bank

Meeting between Erdoğan and Hamas officials; Egyptian Foreign Minister in Türkiye; Agreement between Türkiye and the World Bank

Last week in Türkiye, the top agenda item was a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Hamas leaders.

The visit of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to Türkiye, in connection with the hot agenda in the Middle East, was another agenda item.

The credit agreement reached with the World Bank was also on the economic agenda.

Meeting between Erdoğan and Hamas leaders

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted Hamas Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh and his delegation at the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul last week.

The meeting, which lasted about two and a half hours, discussed the current situation in Gaza and the region.

A statement regarding the meeting was issued by the Presidency’s Communications Directorate. The statement included the following remarks:

During the meeting, the attacks by Israel on Palestinian territories, especially Gaza, the measures to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Gaza in sufficient and uninterrupted manner, and issues related to a fair and lasting peace process in the region were discussed.

President Erdoğan emphasized during the meeting that Türkiye continues its diplomatic efforts to draw the attention of the international community to the persecution of Palestinians and stressed the urgent need for an immediate and lasting ceasefire to end the brutality.

President Erdoğan emphasized that Israel will eventually pay the price for its oppression of Palestinians and stated that Türkiye will continue to denounce the massacres in Gaza on every platform. He highlighted that all efforts are aimed at establishing an independent Palestinian state, which is the key to regional peace, and stressed the vital importance of Palestinian unity during this process. Erdoğan also underscored that the strongest response to Israel and the path to victory lie in unity and solidarity and emphasized the need to further highlight the just cause and truths of Palestine against Israel’s misleading propaganda.

Erdoğan highlighted Türkiye’s continued humanitarian aid to Palestine to alleviate some of the suffering, noting that over 45,000 tons of humanitarian aid have been sent to the region so far. He also mentioned the implementation of a series of sanctions against Israel, including restrictions on trade.

Regarding the tensions between Israel and Iran, President Erdoğan stressed the importance of not allowing the situation to benefit Israel and emphasized the need for efforts to redirect attention to Gaza to prevent the dissipation of the questioning atmosphere in the West regarding Israel’s attacks.

During the meeting, President Erdoğan also conveyed his condolences to Haniyeh for the children and grandchildren who were martyred in the Israeli attack.

President Erdoğan was accompanied by Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, Chief of the National Intelligence Organization İbrahim Kalın, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, Presidential Foreign Policy and Security Advisor Ambassador Akif Çağatay Kılıç, and Presidential Advisor Sefer Turan during the meeting.

Following the meeting, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh commented on Erdoğan’s remarks, where Erdoğan referred to Hamas as the National Liberation Movement and likened it to the Kuvayi Milliye (the national liberation organization organized during the Turkish War of Independence under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk).

Haniyeh stated, “President Erdoğan’s remarks during the Justice and Development Party’s parliamentary meeting, where he defined Hamas as the ‘National Liberation Movement’ and likened it to the Kuvayi Milliye, are undoubtedly a source of pride for us and the Palestinian people.” He continued, “Hamas is a movement that resists the historical occupation to save our lands, sacred values, and people.”

Haniyeh further commented, “Türkiye has historical ties with the Palestinian cause due to its regional and Islamic position. Erdoğan’s statements regarding Hamas, Gaza, and the Palestinian cause reflect the conscience of the Turkish people, who see the Palestinian cause as their own, address Gaza from a humanitarian perspective, and stand against oppression. Efforts should be combined to stop the attacks by the Zionists, sustained with U.S. support.”

Referring to the martyrs in the Mavi Marmara incident, Haniyeh said, “We still remember how the Turkish people sacrificed martyrs for the lifting of the blockade in Gaza.” He added, “Türkiye has maintained a consistent stance on the Palestinian cause and the Gaza blockade.” Haniyeh also mentioned their discussion with President Erdoğan about the decisions taken regarding trade restrictions with Israel and their impact on commercial activities. He emphasized that these decisions constitute a significant step against Zionist enemies who shed the blood of Palestinian women, children, and the elderly in Gaza attacks, threaten retaliation against Rafah for major massacres, and disregard Muslim sanctities, especially in Jerusalem, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri’s visit to Türkiye and his meeting with President Erdoğan were another significant headline of last week.

Official sources shared that the meeting covered Türkiye-Egypt relations, as well as the recent developments in Gaza and regional and global issues.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri at the Dolmabahçe Office. The meeting addressed bilateral relations between Türkiye and Egypt, developments related to Israel’s attacks on Gaza, and global and regional issues.

President Erdoğan mentioned during the meeting that as long as Israel continues its attacks on the Palestinian people, there is a risk of escalation and spread of conflict in the region.

President Erdoğan emphasized the importance of reducing tensions between Israel and Iran to prevent the entire region from falling into a spiral of conflict, stating that it is essential for Islamic countries to work together.

Highlighting the vital importance of using wisdom and strategic thinking for a lasting solution in the region, President Erdoğan stressed the need for an urgent and lasting ceasefire and uninterrupted humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza to end the Israeli oppression there.

Egyptian Foreign Minister in Türkiye

Egyptian Foreign Minister Shukri also held a meeting with Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. The two ministers spoke at a joint press conference held after the meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Istanbul Representation. Minister Fidan stated, “Cooperation between Egypt and Türkiye is extremely beneficial for our peoples and our region. As two countries, we have demonstrated the will to further advance our relations with this understanding.” Fidan mentioned that the upcoming visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting was on the agenda.

Addressing a question about the Israel-Iran tension, Fidan stated, “Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and the unconditional support it receives from the West are among the main reasons for instability in the Middle East.” He emphasized the importance of not overlooking this problem and said, “Our number one priority should be the end of the Israeli occupation and the implementation of a two-state solution.” Fidan warned that if this crisis is not resolved properly and if Palestinians are not granted the statehood, independence, and sovereignty they deserve, such crises will continue to escalate in the region.

Fidan also cautioned other countries against the luxury of thinking that the situation in the Middle East will not affect them, stating, “Anything related to Palestine triggers global fault lines, and what happens here affects the whole world.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Shukri used the following statements in his speech:

“These reciprocal visits are indeed very important. Especially within a short period, we are here in this beautiful city, Istanbul. We held these meetings to further strengthen the relations between our two countries, in line with the directives of our recent state leaders’ meetings. It is particularly important for security and stability to be achieved in the region. Our meetings were conducted in a friendly atmosphere. We discussed our bilateral relations. We continue our efforts to elevate these political relations to high levels in economic, cultural, and security fields as well. All of this will undoubtedly bring about more cooperation and benefit the region, contributing to its security and stability.”

Speaking about the current situation in Gaza, Shukri stated, “The important thing is to achieve a ceasefire as soon as possible and to deliver the humanitarian aid that the Palestinian people urgently need. They have been forcibly displaced. These issues must be addressed urgently, and efforts must be made to ensure their return. It is crucial for the state of Palestine to be established within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Conflict, disputes, and violence should not continue. The international community should reflect the same. As long as this continues, its effects will be felt throughout the region.”

Shukri also mentioned, “We discussed Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Yemen. Integration efforts between Egypt and Türkiye in resolving the issues in this region and ensuring stability will leave a positive impression. Personally, I have good relations with Minister Fidan; he is my brother and friend.”

Şükri also mentioned that Egyptian President Sisi will visit Türkiye in the near future. Regarding the Israel-Iran tension, he expressed concern about the escalation, stating, “We are currently concerned about the escalation. We have been saying from the beginning that there is a possibility of this war spreading, and as you know, it affects maritime transportation in the Red Sea. It has global repercussions, and military escalation between Iran and Israel has increased. We have advised restraint and conveyed that military conflict should not spread further. We are trying to prevent escalation through all means. We want all issues to be resolved through dialogue. We do not want more military conflicts because it affects all countries in one way or another. We discussed all these developments especially during our meeting. We are in agreement regarding joint efforts in this regard.”

Türkiye and the World Bank Loan Agreement

Türkiye signed a $416 million loan agreement between the Industrial Development Bank of Türkiye (TSKB) and the World Bank to “help reduce industrial air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.” The World Bank stated that the loan will provide long-term financing to Turkish manufacturers through a project aimed at adopting clean technologies and processes to reduce harmful emissions from the manufacturing sector. The credit, provided under the guarantee of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance, envisions providing long-term financing opportunities for manufacturers in Türkiye within the scope of the TIER project. The project aims to target the manufacturing sector to implement clean technologies and processes that reduce harmful emissions affecting the environment, climate, productivity, health, and resilience. By facilitating access to long-term financing needed for the green transformation of industry, the TIER project aims to reduce particulate matter emissions by 40%, nitrogen oxide emissions by 30%, and greenhouse gas emissions by 220,000 tons annually.

World Bank Country Director for Türkiye, Humberto Lopez, stated in his remarks regarding the issue, “Reducing emissions from the industrial sector is crucial for increasing the competitiveness of the Turkish industry in the global market.”

Minister of Treasury and Finance Mehmet Şimşek, in a statement made in recent days, mentioned that within the framework of the cooperation with the World Bank, a financial cooperation program for the next 5 years has been established. He stated, “The Country Partnership Framework Program, which envisages an additional $18 billion financing to our country by the World Bank within the first 3 years, was discussed and put into effect by the Bank’s Executive Directors Board.”

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June 2024