(AA) – The U.S. on Tuesday encouraged Turkey to work with Hamas to “reduce tensions” between Palestinians and Israelis following a recent visit to Turkey by Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.
“We have urged the government of Turkey to press Hamas to reduce tensions and prevent violence,” said Jeff Rathke, State Department spokesman. “We raise this at senior levels with our Turkish counterparts,” he added.
“We continue to raise our concerns about the relationship between Hamas and Turkey with senior Turkish officials, including after learning of Khaled Mashal’s recent visit there,”
Meshal paid a surprise visit to attend Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s 5th annual assembly in the central Anatolian city of Konya, the birth place of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
The Hamas leader spoke to thousands of visitors during the meeting where he equated strength in Turkey to strength in Palestine.
“A strong Konya means strong Turkey and which equals to strong Jerusalem and Palestine,” he said.