Israel Palestine Conflict

Turkey’s Erdogan says Hamas is a ‘liberation’ not a ‘terrorist’ group

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in his strongest comments yet on the Gaza conflict, said on Wednesday the Palestinian militant group Hamas was not a terrorist organization but a liberation group fighting to protect Palestinian lands and people.

Speaking to lawmakers from his ruling AK Party, Erdogan also called for an immediate ceasefire between Israeli and Palestinian forces and said Muslim countries must act together to secure a lasting peace in the region.

“Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it is a liberation group, ‘mujahideen’ waging a battle to protect its lands and people,” he said, using an Arabic word denoting those who fight for their faith.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Erdogan also slammed Western powers that have voiced support for Israel’s retaliation against Hamas, saying “Western tears shed for Israel are a manifestation of fraud.”

Many of Turkey’s NATO allies consider Hamas a terrorist group, and Erdogan’s comments drew a swift rebuke from Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who said they were “grave and disgusting and did not help with de-escalation.”

“I will propose to my colleague (Foreign Minister Antonio) Tajani to send a formal protest and to summon the Turkish Ambassador,” Salvini said in a note.

Turkey has condemned the civilians deaths that resulted from Hamas’ Ocober 7 rampage in southern Israel but also urged Israel to react in a restrained way.

It has since strongly condemned Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza, which is controlled by the militant group, while offering to mediate in the conflict and sending several shipments of humanitarian aid.

Erdogan accused Israel of taking advantage of Turkey’s good intentions. Turkey had previously been working to mend long-strained ties with Israel and Erdogan said he had now canceled a planned trip to Israel because of the events in Gaza.

Turkey, which hosts members of Hamas on its territory, backs a two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Read more:

Top Israeli official deems Qatari humanitarian intervention ‘crucial’

Saudi Crown Prince urges immediate action for Gaza ceasefire in call with Biden

International pressure, fear for hostages delaying Israel’s invasion of Gaza: Experts

Top Content Trending