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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Erdogan urges Israel to recognize Hamas

Tue, 24 Feb 2009 13:38:27 GMT | PressTV

The Turkish Prime Minister says if Israel is looking for a lasting peace in the Middle East it should recognize Palestine and Hamas.

Arguing that a two-state solution is the only way to resolve the conflict between Palestinians and Israel, Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Israeli prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to support the idea and recognize Palestine as a state.

The Turkish Premier added that in order to put the idea into action Hamas should be brought to the negotiating table as a democratically elected government.

He said Hamas should have been given such a chance when the movement won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006.

"The party of change and reform won the elections. We have to support them. We have to give them a chance," Erdogan said.

Benjamin Netanyahu, known in Israel as 'Bibi', is the leader of the hawkish Likud Party.

Netanyahu, who has warned he would join all forces against the Palestinian resistance movement, was named prime minister by President Simon Peres.

He has said he would "naturally grow" the West Bank settlements if elected. "I won't evacuate settlements."

Construction of the Jewish settlements has been generally described as a serious blow to the Middle East peace process. Israel promised to halt building of settlements during the Annapolis Conference.

Israel has been criticized by its closest allies for refusing to stop settlement activities.

In his most recent criticism of the Israeli 23-day war on the Gaza Strip Erdogan said Israel had committed "crimes against humanity" in the blockaded strip.

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