Erdoğan says date of Gaza visit still uncertain

July 02, 2013, Tuesday/ 14:32:00

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the date of his visit to Gaza is still uncertain.

Erdoğan told reporters after his parliamentary group speech on Tuesday that the date of his trip to Gaza has not yet been decided. Erdoğan avoided answering a question about whether the visit could take place in July, saying they will announce it when the date is decided.

Israeli media reported last month that Erdoğan would visit Gaza on July 5 and 6, quoting Hamas officials, but Ankara denied these reports.

Last Tuesday, Erdoğan said that despite having to postpone his Gaza visit that had been planned for June due to the Gezi Park protests, which had shaken the country for more than three weeks, he intends to make the visit soon.

“These [Gezi] events unfortunately led to this postponement. Gaza is ready, but we could not be ready because of these events. We could make a surprise [visit] at any moment,” he said.

Erdoğan had earlier made several statements about visiting Gaza, but the date was repeatedly delayed due to a variety of reasons. The US has publicly urged the prime minister to cancel the visit, but Erdoğan has said he will go ahead with it. Erdoğan enjoys high popularity in Gaza because of the messages of solidarity with Gazans he has given on many occasions and his rhetoric against Israel, which imposes air, land and naval embargoes on the Palestinian territory.

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