newsIsrael at War

Ben-Gvir to Turkey: No access to prisoners because of Hamas ties

The minister said visits will only be allowed if Ankara pressures Hamas to allow similar visits to Israelis held in Gaza.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir with police at the site of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in 2023. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir with police at the site of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in 2023. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has refused a request relayed by the Turkish embassy for information on two Turks serving sentences in an Israeli prison, because of the Anatolian nation’s ties to Hamas.

Ben-Gvir also said Israel would not allow the embassy to visit the inmates, saying that this was due to Turkey’s support of Hamas. He further noted that if the embassy wanted to get the information it would have to pressure Hamas to allow Israel to visit hostages in Gaza.

The request received from the Turkish embassy related to two criminal prisoners with Turkish citizenship, Eiden Demirhan and Yuksel Hasunglu.

Demirhan, who worked in Israel, was convicted of killing his girlfriend. He dismembered her corpse and scattered the body parts around Tel Aviv, in a case known as “the body in the suitcase.” Demirhan was initially sentenced to life imprisonment for murder by the district court, and years later the Supreme Court reduced his sentence and convicted him of manslaughter.

Ben-Gvir refused the Turkish request, even though these are criminal prisoners, not security prisoners, who were convicted several years ago. This past Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared that his country “stands firmly” behind Hamas and that “it is not a terrorist organization, but rather a resistance.”

A response from Ben-Gvir’s office stated: “Minister Ben-Gvir’s position is very clear—whoever wants to receive, must also give. Unlike the prisoners in Israeli jails, our hostages have not committed crimes, have not murdered, have not raped and have not stolen. Their only sin is that they are Jews and breathing.

“If the Turkish embassy, [representing] a country that supports Hamas, wants to meet with prisoners or receive information about them, they should go ahead and pressure Hamas to allow us to meet with our captives in the Gaza Strip.”

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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