Some of the Palestinian prisoners that will be freed by Israel in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Hamas will be sent to Turkey and other third-party nations, according to reports.
On Tuesday, Israel and Hamas, the militant Palestinian organization that controls Gaza, agreed to a prisoner swap program. Shalit has been held by Hamas for five years.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has said that 1027 than Palestinians held in Israeli prisons will be freed in two stages. Within this week, 450 of them will be released even up for Shalit; the remainder will be freed within two months.
However, not all the Palestinian inmates will be permitted to return to either Gaza or the West Bank, hence the emergence of Turkey as a new destination.
According to the Guardian newspaper of Britain, under terms of the Israeli-Hamas agreement, only 110 prisoners will be allowed to go to the West Bank, and 203 to Gaza.
This means more than 700 prisoners will be sent to other nations, including Turkey.
Radikal, a Turkish daily newspaper based in Istanbul, said that about 40 Palestinians who were forbidden to return to the West Bank will be sent to Turkey. Hurriyet, another Turkish paper, alleged that Israel prohibited these prisoners from being transported to either Syria, Lebanon or Egypt.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu praised the prisoner swap agreement and noted that Hamas had informed Ankara of the deal prior to the public ‘s general knowledge,
The foreign minister also indicated that Turkey, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an had assisted with negotiations fort the agreement.
Israeli President Shimon Peres told media that he was “pleasantly surprised” by Erdogan's help in winning Shalit’s release, given the deteriorating relations between Turkey and Israel.
I was told that it was done by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, Peres said. They put everything aside and favored the humanitarian side over politics.”
According to reports, there are about 6000 Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails.