Turkey is granting senior operatives within a Hamas militant cell with citizenship, according to a report by the Telegraph.
The Telegraph said it had seen papers that showed at least one of the 12 senior Hamas members in Turkey had received Turkish citizenship and an identity number.
“According to a senior source, seven of the 12 operatives have received Turkish citizenship, as well as passports, while the other five are in the process of receiving them. In some cases, the operatives are living under Turkish aliases,” the Telegraph’s James Rothwell wrote.
Turkey has provided a safe haven to several senior Hamas officials over the years. Hamas is recognized as a terrorist group by Israel, the United States, and several western countries, but not by NATO-member Turkey.
“These are not foot soldiers but the most senior Hamas operatives outside of Gaza. [They] are actively raising funds and directing operatives to carry out attacks in the present day,” the Telegraph quoted one “senior source in the region” as saying.
“The Turkish Government gave in to pressure by Hamas to grant citizenship to its operatives, thereby allowing them to travel more freely, endangering other countries that have listed Hamas as a terror group,” the source added.
A Telegraph investigative report last December found that several senior members of Hamas living and operating out of Turkey had plotted attacks from the country, including one attempt at assassinating mayor of Jerusalem.