Turkey’s Erdoğan says Hamas 'not terrorist organization' but 'liberation group'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has deemed Hamas “not a terrorist organization but a liberation and mujahideen group that struggles to protect its land.” Erdoğan added that Israel was acting as “a (terrorist) organization rather than a state” due to its “atrocities.”

Photo: Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Oct. 25 backed Hamas against Israel and said the former is “not a terrorist organization.”

Speaking in his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting, Erdoğan said “The entire West sees Hamas as a terrorist organization. The West owes Israel a lot, but Turkey does not owe (them) anything. Hamas is not a terrorist organization, but a liberation and mujahideen group that struggles to protect its land.”

“We have no problem with the state of Israel. But we do not approve of Israel's atrocities and its style of acting as a (terrorist) organization rather than a state,” the 69-year-old leader added.

At the beginning of the recent conflict, Erdoğan and the Turkish government called on the parties to act with restraint. Erdoğan also condemned the killing of civilians on both sides and urged the formation of an independent Palestinian state.

With Israel’s continuing attacks against civilians, Erdoğan and the government adopted a more pro-Palestinian rhetoric.

“(Israel) is carrying out one of the most brutal attacks in history against the oppressed people in Gaza. Half of the dead are children, the remaining half are their mothers and family elders. This alone is enough to show that there was an atrocity. You cannot find another army that sets fire to hospitals, places of worship, and market areas and continues this inhumane action,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan said he shook Netanyahu's hand “only once in my life. He abused our good will. We were planning to go to Israel, but we canceled it. They abused our good will.”

Before the recent conflict, the two countries mutually appointed ambassadors this year in a move to improve relations following a decade-long rift.

“We are the only nation in history who have not committed racism. Jews know this best. Aren't these the people who try to silence university students and academics with threats? I would like to state that our country's doors are open to students who are in trouble in the countries they live in just because of their honorable attitude,” Erdoğan added.

He once again called for a ceasefire and said “We are ready to be one of the guarantors of the Palestinian side with our humanitarian, political and military presence. We recommend organizing an 'International Palestine-Israel Peace Conference' in which all influential actors in the region would participate.”