newsIsrael at War

Erdoğan invites Hamas chief Haniyeh, accuses Israel in speech

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan presented Turkey as the longtime defender of the Islamist terrorist group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Feb. 1, 2020. Source: Official website of the President of Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Feb. 1, 2020. Source: Official website of the President of Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Wednesday that he will host Ismail Haniyeh, political leader of Hamas, during a speech to parliament in Ankara rife with anti-Israel tropes.

Erdoğan praised the terrorist group, which on Oct. 7 carried out the worst single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, as a “liberation movement.”

The Turkish president also praised Haniyeh, describing him as the “leader of the Palestinian struggle.”

Erdogan has hosted the terrorist leader before, but this is the first time he has been invited publicly. Ahead of his formal visit, Haniyeh met with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Qatar on Tuesday.

The Turkish president boasted that his country stood behind Hamas when no one else did.

“When everyone was silent, we came out and defined Hamas as a resistance organization, not as a terrorist organization,” Erdoğan said.

“From the U.N. podium, I declared and showed with maps that Israel had occupied the Palestinian lands. We have always stood with our Palestinian brothers, in every way,” he said. “I will continue to make the voice of the Palestinian people heard.”

Erdoğan accused Israel of being behind several Turkish coup attempts in recent decades.

“Don’t forget the military coup on September 12, 1980, which took place immediately after the huge demonstration for Jerusalem in the [Turkish] city of Konya. Don’t forget the military coup on February 28, 1997, which took place immediately after the Jerusalem Night event in Ankara [Province]. Don’t forget that the failed coup attempt in 2016 was carried out by Zionist servants,” he said.

“All these steps were taken to break our sensitivity to the Palestinian struggle. From here I declare: We will not bow our heads or give up in the face of your attacks, such as military coups, economic attacks, assassination attempts and psychological warfare,” Erdoğan declared.

A film was screened highlighting Turkey’s actions on behalf of the Palestinians. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted from the gallery.

Hamas said in a statement on Wednesday, “We greatly appreciate the remarks of His Excellency the President of the Turkish Republic Erdoğan, who reaffirmed his position to continue defending the Palestinian people and their legitimate struggle for the liberation and independence of their land.”

In local elections on March 31, Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) suffered its worst defeat since it took power in 2003.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz attributed the historic defeat to the AK Party’s hostility to the Jewish state.

Although ties between Turkey and Israel had deteriorated in 2010, it appeared that the relationship would improve with Erdogan agreeing to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 78th U.N. General Assembly annual meeting in New York in September. 

However, just a few weeks later, Hamas terrorists invaded Israel, killing some 1,200 people and kidnapping more than 240 others. Erdoğan backed Hamas.

Sacrificing economic interests

In April, Ankara announced export restrictions on Israel after Jerusalem denied a Turkish request to airdrop aid into the Gaza Strip.

Erdoğan’s government said the trade measures would apply to 54 categories of products and would last until a ceasefire is declared.

Katz said that Erdoğan “is once again sacrificing the economic interests of the people of Turkey for his support of the Hamas murderers in Gaza who raped, murdered and desecrated the bodies of women, girls and adults, and burned children alive.

“Israel will not submit to violence and extortion, will not overlook the unilateral violation of our trade agreements and will take parallel measures against Turkey that will harm the Turkish economy,” he added.

Last month, Erdoğan likened Netanyahu and his government to Nazi Germany.

“Netanyahu and his administration, with their crimes against humanity in Gaza, are writing their names next to Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, like today’s Nazis,” he said.

The Israeli leader “continues to commit massacres against the Palestinian people,” he continued, adding that Turkey would do “what is necessary to hold Israeli officials accountable.”

Netanyahu blasted the Turkish leader over the remarks, saying, “Israel observes the laws of war and will not be subject to moral preaching from Erdoğan, who supports [the] murderers and rapists of the Hamas terrorist organization, denies the Armenian Genocide, massacres Kurds in his own country and cracks down on regime opponents and journalists.”

In November, Erdogan told his country’s parliament that Israel would soon be destroyed.

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