Turkish PM says Hamas made a mistake by firing rockets, but claims group abided by cease-fire.
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Hamas made a mistake by firing at Israel, but he also blasted Israel for "failing to abide" by the Gaza cease-fire prior to Operation Cast Lead.
"Hamas, without a doubt, erred by firing rockets at Israel, but we must consider that Hamas fully abided by the truce agreement with Israel for six months, even though Israel did not," Erdogan said in an interview with Al-Hayat.
"Israel didn't do anything to lift the blockade and open the crossings despite the agreement, and provoked Hamas and Gazans," Erdogan told the London-based newspaper.
Erdogan made the claim despite the fact that over 300 rockets and mortar shells were fired by Gaza terrorists at southern Israeli civilian areas during the cease-fire.
The Turkish prime minister expressed his willingness to send Turkish monitors to Gaza "if they are required to stabilize the truce between Hamas and Israel."
In addition, he said that Hamas must have a role in the Palestinian political arena and that "everyone must honor the Palestinian Authority elections."
Regarding the strained Israeli-Turkish ties, Erdogan said, "I am not against the Israeli people, but I am against its political leadership and those who back barbaric killing."
Regarding the prospects of successful Israel-Syria negotiations, which have been mediated by Turkey, Erdogan said that he "wouldn't say peace was already dead."
"I talked about this issue during my visit to Damascus when the IDF began its operation in Gaza and we then decided to suspend the mediation," he said, adding, that "peace negotiations cannot be held under such conditions."
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