Erdoğan Denies Hamas Are Terrorists and Calls Them Fighters for Their Land

Wednesday, 25 October 2023

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Türkiye, has said that the Hamas group, which attacked Israel on 7 October, is not a terrorist organisation.

"Hamas is not a terrorist organisation but it is a group of liberators and mujahedeen [warriors] who are fighting to protect their land and people," Turkish Minute quotes Erdoğan in his speech at a party meeting in the parliament.

Erdoğan accused Israel of carrying out one of the "bloodiest and most brutal" attacks in history on Palestinians after 7 October. He also accused Tel Aviv of committing war crimes.

Erdoğan said Western countries were holding meetings to declare Hamas a terrorist organisation, but accused Israel of acting as a terrorist organisation itself.

"Oh Israel, you could be a [terrorist] organisation. The West is indebted to you much but Turkey is not," he said, adding that Turkey will not remain silent while children are being killed by Israel in Gaza.

According to Gaza health authorities, Israeli airstrikes have killed about 2,500 children in the city.

Erdoğan also said he was cancelling plans to visit Israel because of its "inhuman" war in Gaza.

"We had a plan to go to Israel, but it was cancelled, we will not go," Erdoğan said.

Ankara's relations with Israel were frozen after the Israelis attacked a Turkish ship carrying aid to Gaza in 2010, killing 10 civilians.

Last month, Erdoğan met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a UN summit in New York, marking an improvement in relations that began with a decision last year to reappoint ambassadors.

The Turkish leader did not say when he intended to visit Israel, where Ankara was considering joining a gas pipeline project promoted by the United States.

"Of course, we had good intentions, but (Netanyahu) abused them. If he had continued with good intentions, our relations might have been different, but now, unfortunately, this will not happen either," Erdoğan said.

Türkiye, which has historically had ties with Hamas, is negotiating for the release of hostages held by militants of this Palestinian group.

Before that, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Türkiye, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to cooperate amidst hostilties in Israel.

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