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Israel has done the unthinkable, and Iran appears to be leaving – our news from the Middle East today, Saturday

Israel has done the unthinkable, and Iran appears to be leaving – our news from the Middle East today, Saturday

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul on Saturday to discuss the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza and efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region, the Turkish president's office said.

This is the first meeting between Erdogan and a Hamas delegation headed by Haniyeh since Israel began its military attack on the Gaza Strip. Haniyeh's visit to Türkiye comes three days after his meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Doha.

“During the meetings, issues related to the attacks launched by Israel against the Palestinian territories, especially the Gaza Strip, and the efforts made to ensure the delivery of adequate and continuous humanitarian aid to Gaza, and the just and lasting peace process in the region were discussed.” The Turkish presidency said in a statement.

The news agency reported that Turkey, a member of NATO, condemned the Israeli attack on Gaza following the attack launched by Hamas on Israel on October 7, and called for an immediate ceasefire.

Erdogan described Hamas as a “liberation movement” while criticizing the West for what he says is unconditional support for Israel. Ankara also imposed trade restrictions on Israel.

The statement stated that Erdogan informed Haniyeh during Saturday's meeting that Turkey will continue its diplomatic efforts for a permanent ceasefire and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

The statement said that Erdogan also told Haniyeh that “it is important for the Palestinians to act as one entity.”

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