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Hamas allies Turkey, Qatar huddle as Gaza truce calls mount

AFP

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during a news conference in Ankara on July 3, 2014Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during a news conference in Ankara on July 3, 2014

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during a news conference in Ankara on July 3, 2014Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during a news conference in Ankara on July 3, 2014

Turkey's foreign minister flew to Doha on Friday for talks with his Qatari counterpart on how to use their influence with Palestinian movement Hamas to end the bloodshed around Gaza.

Talks between Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatar's Khaled al-Attiyah were interspersed with telephone discussions with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been spearheading Western efforts to end the Palestinian territory's deadliest violence since 2008-9.

"I am in Qatar for Gaza ceasefire negotiations that have intensified for a couple of days and uninterrupted in the last 24 hours," Davutoglu wrote on his official Twitter account.

"I will hold detailed meetings with our Qatari friends, who have been making great efforts together with us to stop the bloodshed in Gaza."

The two men discussed "efforts to bring about an end to the Israeli aggression and to help the Palestinians in Gaza", the QNA official news agency reported.

They also called Ban Ki-moon in order "to inform him about their talks aimed at bringing about a just agreement to protect the Palestinian people".

Davutoglu had scrapped a scheduled visit to France to hold the crisis talks with Turkey's key partner in efforts to back Hamas in its refusal to accept a ceasefire without concessions from Israel.

Hamas has been demanding Israeli commitment to easing the eight-year-old Israeli blockade of Gaza and the release of re-arrested Palestinian prisoners as a condition for a ceasefire.

Turkish media said that while in Qatar, Davutoglu would meet Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who is based in its capital Doha and who reiterated the Islamist movement's truce conditions late on Wednesday.

"We are doing our best for a ceasefire but I don't know if we will get any result," a Turkish official said.

On Twitter, Davutoglu said without elaborating that he would hold talks with "Palestinian parties with an aim to ensure that merciless attacks targeting our Palestinian brothers come to an immediate end."

Turkey, a staunch critic of the Israeli assaults in Gaza, is pressing for involvement of Hamas in any negotiations for a ceasefire.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who presents himself as a rare global Muslim leader who stands up for Palestinian rights, has accused Israel of carrying out a "genocide" in Gaza.

Turkish and Qatari criticism of Egyptian-led efforts for a truce have seriously complicated US efforts to broker an end to the violence that has killed more than 800 Gazans, many of them civilians, sparking a mounting world outcry.

Date created : 2014-07-25