Turkey's Erdogan welcomes Hamas, again

Erdogan met with Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh according to Turkey’s pro-government Anadolu media.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks at Esenboga Airport in Ankara, Turkey, October 7, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks at Esenboga Airport in Ankara, Turkey, October 7, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkey’s President met with Hamas representatives on Saturday according to Turkish media. The meeting comes as Turkey’s ruling party, which has roots in the Muslim Brotherhood, is seeking to oppose the Trump administration’s 'Deal of the Century' and portray opposition to it as an Islamic cause. Under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the country has increasingly sought to confront Trump’s policies on Jerusalem and portray itself as leading the Arabic and Islamic world in opposition to Israeli policies.
Erdogan met with Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh according to Turkey’s pro-government Anadolu media. Turkey’s leader also called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday to show support for the Palestinians and opposition to the Deal of the Century. Turkey also hosted a large Hamas delegation and Haniyeh in mid-December.
Hamas currently has its delegation making a world tour, with recent  stops in Qatar and Malaysia and other countries where it is trying to drum up support. Egypt and Israel have  both been in contact with Hamas over recent months and reports indicated a long-term cessation of violence from the  Gaza Strip could be in the works. But Trump’s peace plan, announced on  January 28, has caused Hamas to work with other Palestinian factions to oppose the deal.


Hamas says it met with Erdogan to discuss how to face off against the deal of the century. "During he meeting, both sides stressed that they reject the deal," Hamas wrote in a statement. "Hamas and Erdogan stressed that the deal will not pass in the face of Arab and Islamic positions against it." Haniyeh briefed Erdogan on the movement's endeavors against the plan. Hamas also welcomed a push for Palestinian unity.
Israel accused Hamas of plotting attacks from Turkey in reports released in December at The Telegraph and in a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry website in 2018. The latter referred  to economic and military activity. Turkey has recently slammed Arab countries for being open to Trump’s deal, accusing them of treason. Turkey’s foreign minister recently called Europe “spoiled, racist children.”
Turkey’s support for Hamas is part of a wider agenda where it is accused of working with extremist groups in Syria and has sent Syrian mercenaries it recruited to fight in Libya. In October and November US officials privately referred to Turkish-backed Syrian rebels as “undisciplined” and “jihadists” involved in human rights abuses and ethnic cleansing in Syria. Turkey also works with Russia to acquired Russia’s S-400 system which has angered US officials. Ankara has also been growing closer to Iran. A recent cache of documents revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood and IRGC met in Turkey in 2014 to consider regional strategy. Hamas has roots in the Muslim Brotherhood.
Turkey’s Anadolu media, which generally reflect the government stance, says Jerusalem is a “red line for Muslims.” Turkey has increasingly sought to work with governments in Malaysia, and Pakistan to push for a Muslim media network, and with Iran and Malaysia to propose a global Islamic currency. In this framework Turkey has sought to foment anger over US policy on Jerusalem and hosted emergency meetings on the issue in 2018.
Ankara has tried to position itself, with Qatar, as a leading backer of the Palestinians. Iran also seeks to lead a regional alliance against the Deal of the Century and Iran, like Turkey, supports Hamas. Together Iran and Turkey are portraying themselves as the regional backers of the Palestinians, particularly Hamas, and accusing Arab states in the Gulf of betrayal.


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