Erdoğan says he does not expect Hamas to leave Qatar

Turkish President Erdoğan stated that he does not believe that the Palestinian militant group Hamas will leave Qatar, where the group is currently based. He also noted that he has not observed any indications that Doha would want the group to leave either.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meets with Hamas Political Bureau Chair Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul on April 20.

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on April 23 that he does not believe the Palestinian militant group Hamas will leave Qatar, where it is based, adding he had seen no such signs that Doha wished the group to leave, either.

Erdoğan, who was returning from a visit to Iraq, was asked by reporters on board the flight about media reports suggesting Hamas may leave its base in Qatar or be asked to leave by Doha.

Erdoğan said he had received no signs of the Qatari leadership wanting the group to leave.

Turkey, which has previously hosted senior members of Hamas, has denounced Israel for its campaign in Gaza and called for a ceasefire.

Erdoğan, who has called Hamas a "liberation movement," met Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul on April 20.

"What is important is not where Hamas' leaders are, but the situation in Gaza," Erdoğan said, according to a text of the in-flight interview published by his office.

"The sincerity they (Qatar) have toward them (Hamas), their stance toward them, has always been like a member of the family. In the coming period, I absolutely do not think it is possible for them to change this approach," he said.

Later on April 23, Qatar Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said that there was no justification to end the presence of an office for Palestinian militant group Hamas in Doha while its mediation efforts continued in the Gaza war.

He added in a press conference that Qatar remained committed to mediation but was reassessing its role in "frustration with attacks" on its efforts.

Taher al-Nounou, media adviser to Hamas Political Bureau Head Haniyeh, told Al Mayadeen that "the discussions with Turkish leadership primarily revolved around holding the Israeli occupation accountable for its crimes committed against the Palestinian people."

He added, "Hamas has no intention of supplanting Qatari and Egyptian mediation efforts with Turkish mediation. He stressed that Haniyeh's visit to Turkey was unrelated to this matter."

Hamas seized control in Gaza in 2007, a year after elections, following a brief civil war with Palestinian Authority security forces that reduced the PA's rule to the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Efforts to reconcile the two sides have so far failed over thorny power-sharing issues.

Erdoğan said a full capture of Gaza by Israel would open the door for further invasion of Palestinian territories, and said, without providing evidence, that Israel was committing "unprecedented massacres" while "moving to destroy Gaza".

As of April 23, Israel has killed 34,183 Palestinians in Gaza, where it has continued its attacks for 200 days. In the attacks on the Gaza Strip in the last 10 days alone, 469 people lost their lives.