Turkey and Israel, whose diplomatic relations are in a state of crisis, have been in touch over the past couple of days, discussing details of a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel, a news report said on Tuesday.
Turkish officials discussed the prisoner exchange with officials from both Hamas and Israel, private broadcaster NTV reported. A senior Hamas official was also in Ankara on Monday to discuss details of the exchange and the situation of Palestinian prisoners that Turkey accepted to take in, the Anatolia news agency said, without disclosing identity of the Hamas official.
In addition to contacts with Hamas, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also phoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah group on Tuesday to congratulate the Palestinian leader on the exchange, Anatolia also said. Abbas thanked Turkey for its contributions to the process, it added.
Turkey has said it was involved in efforts to broker a deal between Israel and Hamas on release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas 5 years ago in a cross-border raid but officials gave little information on Turkish actions. Ankara also announced on Tuesday that it has accepted to receive some of the Palestinian inmates who were released on Tuesday under the Hamas-Israel deal but barred by Israel from entering Gaza or the West Bank. Media reports said 10 Palestinian prisoners are to arrive in Turkey after their release to Egypt, although there was no official confirmation.
Turkey will send a plane to Egypt to pick up the Palestinian prisoners on Tuesday. The plane is expected to arrive in Turkey later in the day.
18 October 2011, Tuesday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,