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Bipartisan congressional group condemns Erdoğan’s support of Hamas

A letter signed by 24 representatives warned that “the United States may need to reassess its partnership with Turkey.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrives at a NATO 75th anniversary celebratory event at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.. on July 9, 2024. Photo by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrives at a NATO 75th anniversary celebratory event at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.. on July 9, 2024. Photo by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images.

Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), as well as 28 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives, signed a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken raising alarm over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s support for Hamas.

“While allies can and often do disagree on key policy questions, Turkey’s conduct toward Israel is extremely troublesome and undermines our global fight for freedom and democracy,” the July 9 letter stated. “With democracy under assault around the world, we must protect our allies that are on the frontline battling these evil, authoritarian forces.”

Gottheimer told JNS that “President Erdoğan continues to offer dangerous support to Hamas. Instead of condemning their terrorist acts, he has praised them as a ‘liberation group’ and ‘freedom fighters.’”

He emphasized that “there is no room for honoring terrorists who murdered, burned, raped and kidnapped more than 1,200 people, including 44 Americans.”

Calling on Erdoğan to stop “imitating the domestic, autocratic policies of dictators” like Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Gottheimer told JNS that the Turkish leader “should work with the international community, including his NATO allies, to help secure the release of the hostages and end the war.”

Gottheimer warned that Erdoğan’s “rhetoric endangers the hostages, including my constituent, Edan Alexander, and emboldens Hamas to walk away from the negotiation table.”

The representatives wrote that “the Turkish government’s professed solidarity with Hamas and its actions against one of America’s key democratic allies in the Middle East demands attention. If this trend persists, the United States may need to reassess its partnership with Turkey.”

The American Jewish Committee supported the context of the letter.

Julie Fishman Rayman, managing director of policy and political affairs for AJC, said “we applaud Representatives Josh Gottheimer and Gus Bilirakis for making clear that this cannot be overlooked.”

She stated that “President Erdoğan’s persistent endorsement of Hamas—a terror organization currently holding 120 souls hostage, including eight Americans—emboldens their actions and undermines our shared security interests as members of the NATO Alliance.”

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