ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has initiated negotiations with the Palestinian group Hamas in a bid to secure the release of Israeli hostages held by them, according to a senior Turkish official.
The move comes in the wake of a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, which resulted in the abduction of dozens of people.
The unnamed Turkish official confirmed the negotiations and revealed that President Erdogan had ordered the talks. Turkey, with a history of interactions with Hamas, is now actively working to mediate the ongoing conflict.
Following the Hamas attack over the weekend, Ankara has embarked on a diplomatic mission to facilitate negotiations between the parties involved. Erdogan has engaged in conversations with regional leaders, including Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, expressing Turkey's willingness to mediate and ensure a swift resolution to the crisis.
The official source said, "Turkey is carrying out negotiations regarding the civilian prisoners held by Hamas. Upon President Tayyip Erdogan's orders, the relevant institutions are carrying out a process regarding the civilians held by Hamas," while refraining from providing further details about the negotiations.
Turkey, known for its support of Palestinians and its advocacy for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hosts members of Hamas and aims to mend its strained relationship with Israel through energy cooperation.
As violence escalates in the region, Turkey has called for restraint and urged the protection of civilians on both sides, emphasising that a broader regional peace can only be achieved through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
President Erdogan, in his response to the conflict, described Israel's actions against Hamas in Gaza as a "massacre," alluding to the blockade that has resulted in disruptions to vital services like water and electricity and the tragic loss of civilian lives.
While these negotiations mark a crucial step towards resolving the ongoing crisis, the situation remains tense, with international efforts and diplomacy being the focus to restore peace in the region.
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