(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) In a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon criticized Turkey for the support it provides to Hamas.
“Turkey is playing a cynical game,” Ya’alon told Hagel. “Hamas is supported by Turkey and Qatar. Hamas has two terror headquarters—in Gaza and in Istanbul.”
“Hamas moved its terror headquarters from Damascus to Istanbul, in Turkey, a NATO member, where it is represented by Saleh al-Arouri, who orchestrates terrorist attacks against Israel from there and attempted to instigate a coup against [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas in Judea and Samaria,” added Ya’alon.
Ya’alon and Hagel discussed a range of topics on Tuesday, including Iran, the Islamic State terror group, Syria, Operation Protective Edge, and U.S.-Israel defense ties. Ya’alon thanked Hagel for U.S. aid in the development of the Iron Dome missile defense system.
“Even if there are disagreements between the U.S. and Israel, they should not be allowed to cloud the deep friendship and warm, intimate ties between the two countries,” Ya’alon said.
A U.S. Department of Defense statement said Hagel “reaffirmed the United States’ deep commitment to the security of Israel, and the importance of the U.S.-Israel defense relationship.” Hagel and Ya’alon “agreed to continue to work together to maintain the strength of the U.S.-Israel security relationship,” the statement said.