Turkey hails Palestine’s decision to hold elections

Turkey on Saturday hailed Palestine’s decision to hold general and presidential elections for the first time in 15 years.

The Foreign Ministry said in a written statement that it welcomed the progress made in intra-Palestinian political reconciliation, as well as the “will to implement the agreement on elections reached during the negotiations that we hosted in Istanbul.”

“With this decision, an important step was taken towards defending the Palestinian cause in a stronger way,” it added, underlining that Turkey is ready to provide “every support” to Palestine to hold the elections.

Palestinians are set to hold parliamentary, presidential and National Council polls under a decree signed Friday by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The parliamentary elections will be held on May 22, presidential elections on July 31 and Palestinian National Council elections on Aug. 31.

Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from its rival in 2007, but last September the two met in Turkey and agreed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections.

On Dec. 31, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh sent Abbas an official letter on ending the division and holding general elections in Palestinian territories.

The last presidential election was in 2005, while the parliamentary elections were last held in 2006.

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