Turkey‘s top diplomat said Tuesday his country had been in touch with Hamas over some 200 Israeli and foreign hostages it is holding in Gaza, following requests from several governments.
“So far, we have received requests from various countries for the release of their citizens. As a result, we started to discuss these issues, especially with the political wing of Hamas,” Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told a news conference in Beirut alongside his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah Bou Habib.
Fidan’s comments come a day after he spoke with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on the phone about the possibility of the release of hostages.
Scores of people were taken hostage during Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, when militants shot, stabbed or burned to death more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians.
“Our efforts continue, especially for the release of foreigners, civilians and children. We will continue our efforts to ensure lasting peace,” Fidan said on Tuesday.
He will join a meeting in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Wednesday of foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a vocal advocate of the Palestinian cause, has stepped up diplomatic contacts with Western and regional powers after he offered to mediate to restore peace.