‘Hamas aren’t terrorists’ – Turkish President

Israel condemns Erdogan after he called Hamas a ‘liberation group,’ claimed airstrikes on Gaza ‘amount to murder and mental illness.’

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that Hamas were freedom fighters, not terrorists, and blasted Israel’s airstrikes on the Gaza Strip as “murder.”

Speaking to parliamentarians from his ruling AK Party, Erdogan said, “Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it is a liberation group, ‘mujahideen’ waging a battle to protect its lands and people.”

Mujahideen is an Arabic term for those engaged in jihad, or holy war, fighting on behalf of Islam or the Muslim nation.

Although Turkey belongs to NATO, many of whose members, chief among them the United States, designate Hamas as a terror organization, Ankara has long held this favorable view and has allowed Hamas leaders to live in the country freely for years.

Turkey did condemn Hamas after the invasion on October 7 in which its terrorists murdered 1,400 men, women, children and babies in the Gaza envelope communities, the vast majority in their homes and at a dance rave.

Erdogan went on in his speech to criticize his Western allies for backing Israel’s airstrike campaign on military targets in Gaza, which has been ongoing since the war began.

“The perpetrators of the massacre and the destruction taking place in Gaza are those providing unlimited support for Israel,” he said. He said the attacks were an “intentional massacre” and “amount to murder and mental illness.”

Israel’s actions, he said, showed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “took advantage of our good intentions” when the two leaders met on the sidelines of the opening of the UN General Assembly last month. The meeting was a sign of the recent rapprochement between the two countries, when they restored diplomatic relations after years of harsh words and mutual recriminations, mostly over what Erdogan labeled Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians.

He said he was cancelling a trip he had been planning to the Jewish state as a sign of his anger. In addition, he called for an immediate ceasefire and the free flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry immediately condemned Erdogan’s remarks.

“Israel wholeheartedly rejects the Turkish President’s harsh words about the terrorist organization Hamas,” ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat wrote on X. “Hamas is a despicable terrorist organization worse than ISIS that brutally and intentionally murders babies, children, women and the elderly.”

“Even the Turkish president’s attempt to defend [Hamas]… will not change the horrors that the whole world has seen and [that] unequivocal fact.”

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