Turkish President Erdogan to host Hamas chief Haniyeh

President Erdogan has called Hamas a ‘resistance group’ and has compared the IDF to Nazis.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that he will welcome Hamas’ Qatar-based leader-in-exile Ismail Haniyeh this weekend.

“I will host the leader of the Palestinian cause at the weekend. We will discuss a number of issues,” Erdogan told Parliament.

Although Erdogan didn’t mention where he would meet with Haniyeh, NTV reported they would convene on Saturday at the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul.

Erdogan, who has compared the Israeli Defense Forces to Nazis during the Gaza War, recently placed trade restrictions against Israel.

Erdogan declared, “Even if only I, Tayyip Erdogan, remain, I will continue as long as God gives me my life, to defend the Palestinian struggle and to be the voice of the oppressed Palestinian people,” the president said, calling Hamas a “resistance group.”

Earlier in the week, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met with Haniyeh in Doha to discuss humanitarian aid to Gaza, a ceasefire and hostage negotiations.

Following the meeting, Hamas issued a statement emphasizing “the importance and centrality of the Turkish role” in hostage negotiations.

The last time Haniyeh and Erdogan met in Turkey was in July 2023 when they were accompanied by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the the Presidential palace in Ankara.

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Last week, Erdogan offered Haniyeh condolences for the death of three sons and some of his grandchildren in an Israeli airstrike.

Erdogan’s rhetoric against Israel has been harsh, particularly since October 7th, and has called Israel a “terrorist state” and has accused it of genocide.

However, in early April, there was some indication that Erdogan may want to seek to improve relations with Israel.

According to Maariv, the Turkish Deputy Ambassador told Foreign Ministry Director General Jacob Blitstein, “President Erdogan’s severe rhetoric against Israel stems from Erdogan’s political considerations in the local elections in Turkey.”

After they took place, he said, the president would want to improve ties, starting with both countries returning their ambassadors, who had been recalled just weeks into the Israel-Hamas war due to Turkey’s overt pro-Hamas stance.