On Oct. 7, Israel suffered the greatest massacre against Jewish people since the Holocaust, committed by the terrorist group Hamas. Despite its hideous atrocities, however, Hamas’s alliance with the Turkish government remains strong. Hamas opened its first offices in Istanbul in 2011. Since then, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has frequently met with leaders of Hamas and given the group a safe haven in Turkey.
Today, support for Hamas and condemnation of Israel’s ensuing defensive military operation has become mainstream in Turkey. Erdoğan has been obsessively attacking Israel, calling it a “terror state,” while referring to Hamas as a “liberation movement” and hosting its officials.
Israel’s public broadcaster Kan has reported that Israel is planning to hunt down Hamas members and leaders in Turkey, as well as in Lebanon and Qatar, even if it takes years. In response, the Turkish government warned Israel of “serious consequences” if it strikes Hamas members living abroad, including in Turkey.
“Necessary warnings were made to the interlocutors based on the news of Israeli officials’ statements, and it was expressed to Israel that [such an act] would have serious consequences,” a Turkish intelligence official said.
Despite Israeli demands to cease its support for Hamas, Turkey’s government is doubling down. The Jerusalem Post reported on December 17 that “Senior Hamas officials held a secret meeting last week in Turkey. … At the head of the meeting were Deputy Chairman of the Political Bureau of Hamas Saleh al-Arouri, who attended from his residence in Beirut, and former Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, who lives in the Qatari capital, Doha. Several other senior Hamas officials attended. … Turkey was deliberately chosen as the site of the meeting, as it was deemed safe enough for the leaders to meet there.”
There is a political and religious kinship between Hamas and the Turkish government. Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which aims to establish a global Islamic caliphate. Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by Erdoğan, is the Brotherhood’s Turkish branch.
The Turkish media’s viciously anti-Israel narrative of the Israel-Hamas war is controlled by the Turkish government. The results are as expected. A telling case is that of Saime Toktaş, the foreign news editor of Habertürk, a pro-government Turkish TV channel. Toktas said during her live reporting from Gaza, “The war was started as a result of the attack of an organization [Hamas]. It was a terrorist attack. Civilians were massacred.” After Toktaş made that entirely accurate statement, Habertürk withdrew her from the region. Toktaş and the chief editor of Habertürk both had to apologize for reporting the truth after a massive backlash.
Meanwhile, pro-Erdoğan media continues to spread annihilationist Jew-hatred. The newspaper Yeni Safak, for example, ran a headline on Oct. 18 that read: “This terrorist state [Israel] must be eradicated.” On Dec. 8, Yeni Safak said, “They [Jews] are killing based on a 3,000-year-old perverted religion. The world must eradicate this virus.”
The Hamas charter also states the group’s intention to “obliterate Israel” and “raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.” The editorial policy of the pro-Erdoğan media in Turkey seems to be in line with these genocidal goals.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs issued a detailed report in 2021 documenting how Turkey contributes to Hamas’ military empowerment:
Hamas’s Istanbul headquarters has directed hundreds of terror attacks against Israelis and laundered millions of dollars. Turkey collaborates with terror organizations on both the ideological and operational levels. Terrorists working on Turkish soil establish infrastructures and plan terror attacks against Israel. Hamas senior officials (most former inmates in Israel for terrorism who were released in a prisoner exchange) are operating from Turkey against Israel. Some have even been granted Turkish citizenship. Besides hosting Hamas offices and senior officials who planned terror attacks, Turkey has also become a safe haven for Hamas’s financial affairs, including funding terror organizations in the West Bank.
The report concluded, “Ten years is a sufficient period to study Turkey’s behavior with regard to Hamas. The facts are clear. There is no gray area; the picture is black-and-white. The Hamas terror organization is hosted on Turkish soil, and from there, it directs, with the knowledge of the Turkish authorities, terror operations against Israel.”
This unholy alliance has brought massacres, destruction and unspeakable pain to the people of Israel.