The British newspaper the Telegraph has accused Turkey of allowing Hamas to conduct terror attacks on Israel from Istanbul, claims Ankara has denied.
In a report published today, which cited information allegedly gained by Israeli police and security sources from interrogations of the group’s detained suspects, the paper claimed that Hamas’ operations in Jerusalem and the West Bank are being plotted from Turkish soil with authorities there turning a blind eye.
One such operation was a plot to assassinate the mayor of Jerusalem and the national police commissioner.
The report was released only days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul as part of the latter’s foreign tour.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reported to have reassured the Hamas official that “We will keep on supporting our brothers in Palestine.” Haniyeh and his party then praised the president for his continued support and “positions vis-a-vis the Palestinian people and their just cause”.
The report also cited accusations by Israeli officials that Turkey has broken a commitment made in 2015 between it and the US, which forbade the country from allowing Hamas to plan operations against Israel as a result of the latter’s continued occupation of Palestinian territories.
According to the report, Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated that “Israel is extremely concerned that Turkey is allowing Hamas terrorists to operate from its territory, in planning and engaging in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.”
The accusations levelled at Turkey and Erdogan add to the Jewish State’s long-time criticism of the Republic’s hosting of figures associated with Hamas, the political party which runs the besieged Gaza Strip, and its ties to the Palestinian cause as a whole. While Turkey perceives talking with Hamas as a viable option to provide solutions to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, Israel sees it as accommodating a “terrorist group” which fights against its continued occupation of Palestinian territories.
The accusations by the Telegraph and its report have been strongly denied and refuted by Turkey, with a diplomatic source saying that Hamas is “not a terrorist organisation”.
The Palestinian movement has slammed the report as “baseless” due to the fact that “Hamas’ resistance activities are conducted only in the land of occupied Palestine.”