Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (centre) meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (left) and the leader of the Palestinian Hamas movement Ismail Haniya at the Presidential Complex in Ankara. Image Credit: AFP

ANKARA: Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas together with Esmail Haniya, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan’s office said.

Abbas is paying a visit to Turkey and had previously met with Erdogan on Tuesday.

Abbas and Haniya have been unable to repair a rift since 2007, when Hamas, which opposes peace deals with Israel, seized control of the Gaza Strip. Abbas’ Western-backed Palestinian Authority remains dominant in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

On Tuesday, Abbas agreed with Haniya, who currently resides between Qatar and Turkey, to hold a broad meeting of factions in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, at the end of July, to discuss the conflict with Israel and ways to end internal divisions.

Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank held little hope the meetings could reconcile the ongoing power struggle between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah faction, the backbone of the Palestinian Authority, after many failed attempts in the past 16 years.

In a statement issued by Hamas on Wednesday, the group said its leaders reaffirmed in Tuesday’s meeting with Abbas that “resistance was the most efficient way to confront the (Israeli) occupation.”