Former President Shimon Peres talks to the press after meeting with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House during his presidency last June.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former Israeli president Shimon Peres called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to convince Hamas to stop attacking Israel in an interview with a Turkish newspaper on Sunday.
“If Erdogan wants to help, fine. But if he really wants to help, he has to convince Hamas to stop shooting. This is compromised because Hamas still arms itself,” he said. The interview was published online on the Hurriyet Daily News website on Monday.
“You cannot separate these things if you want peace,” Peres continued. “You can send aid but in a way that won’t harm our security. That is the minimum.
“We do not want anybody doing harm to the Gazans, including Hamas,” he added.
“We are fighting Hamas. We are fighting Hezbollah. All those people who shoot forget that they are being shot because they have been shooting. I think Turkey has to fight terror in Turkey and we [have to fight] on our side.”
According to the rapprochement deal between Israel and Turkey, Hamas can operate in Turkey as long as it does not involve itself directly in terrorist activity against Israel. Erdogan met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Istanbul to discuss the deal prior to it being finalized last week.
“I understand that Turkey wants to help Hamas. But if you want to help Hamas, you must help us as well so there won’t be shooting. Now the solution is that the ships will come through Ashdod,” Peres said.
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, speaking with The Daily Sabah on Monday, thanked Turkey and said the lack of electricity and drinking water were Gaza’s biggest problems.
Turkish aid shipments arrived in the Gaza Strip via Israel on Monday. Under the supervision of the Turkish Red Crescent Society, the first of about 500 trucks carrying the aid entered the Gaza Strip through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing, witnesses said.
“This is the first [aid] ship after the Turkish and the Israeli governments’ agreement,” said Kerem Kinik, president of the Turkish Red Crescent, who traveled to Gaza to supervise the distribution of the goods.
Meanwhile, Erdogan mentioned on Monday that Ankara would expand the “circle of peace” in the region by continuing to improve relations with Israel and Russia.
“We will make it through this process of global transformation and end up much stronger. We are improving our relations with Israel and Russia... We are mending the strained relations again and overcoming crises triggered by the Syrian issue, terror and artificial tensions,” he said, according to Hurriyet.
“We are removing the barriers in our path one by one,” he added.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim made similar comments after the weekly cabinet meeting on Monday, saying, “We are resolute about further developing our realistic, friendly and peaceful relationships – from Russia to Israel, Egypt to Syria, Iraq to Iran, and EU countries to the United States.”
However, Yildirim said no meeting with Syria would take place until “the oppression” and the “dictatorial regime” end.
Regarding Egypt, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday he is “ready to meet” with his Egyptian counterpart.
Reuters contributed to this report.