search

Hamas, Islamic Jihad condemn Turkey for hosting Herzog: ‘Abandonment of Palestine’

Gaza rulers, who enjoy close ties with Ankara, avoid calling out country by name, referring to ‘our brothers in Arab and Islamic countries’

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Hamas terrorist movement chief Ismail Haniyeh, prior to their meeting in Istanbul, February 1, 2020. (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Hamas terrorist movement chief Ismail Haniyeh, prior to their meeting in Istanbul, February 1, 2020. (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

The Hamas terror group condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Wednesday meeting with President Isaac Herzog, but avoided calling out its longtime patron by name.

“We express our sorrow over these visits to our brothers in Arab and Islamic countries, which we consider the ‘strategic depth’ of our Palestinian people and their just national cause,” the terror group said.

Ankara has long supported Hamas, playing host to officials in the terror group and even reportedly granting them citizenship.

In late 2020, Erdogan met with a Hamas delegation that included the group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh and deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri — who has a $5 million US bounty on his head for terrorism.

The Islamic Jihad terror group — whose main regional patron is Iran — issued a more full-throated denunciation of Herzog’s Turkey trip, calling it “an abandonment of Jerusalem and Palestinian.”

“This trip shunts aside the blood of Turkish martyrs who died for Gaza,” says Islamic Jihad, a reference to the Turkish citizens who died during the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

The Turkish activists were seeking to run Israel’s blockade of Gaza as a political statement, when the Israeli army to raided their vessel. The resulting clashes left nine Turkish citizens dead and wounded 10 Israeli soldiers, prompting international uproar.

As part of the recent rapprochement efforts, Israel has reportedly asked Turkey to expel Hamas officials.

President Isaac Herzog (left) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential complex in Ankara on March 9, 2022. (Screen capture/GPO)

Herzog’s trip to Turkey on Wednesday and Thursday was the highest-level visit by an Israeli official since former prime minister Ehud Olmert went to the country in 2008. In the intervening years, tensions between Israel and Turkey rose substantially, especially after the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident.

But the two sides have subsequently begun a rapprochement, as Turkey, beset by economic troubles, has sought to end its international isolation by normalizing ties with several countries in the Mideast region, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Erdogan, Herzog said in a briefing to Israeli reporters, has been “open to true dialogue on numerous and varied issues, and we got down to details on matters of importance for both sides.”

He said the process of rekindling ties with Ankara was being carried out “under no illusions, but reflects bilateral interests.”

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed