Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Palestinian group Hamas, which attacked Israel on October 7, is not a terrorist organization and he called its fighters “liberators” who are struggling for their land.
Erdogan mentioned it on Wednesday speaking at a party meeting in parliament.
“Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it is a group of liberators and mujahideen who are fighting to defend their land and their people,” Erdogan claimed.
Erdogan accused Israel of carrying out one of the “bloodiest and most brutal” attacks in history against Palestinians after 7 October. He also condemned Tel Aviv of committing war crimes. Erdogan said Western countries hold meetings to declare Hamas a terrorist organization, but accused Israel of acting as a terrorist entity itself.
“Israel can be a (terrorist. - Ed.) organisation. The West owes you a lot, but Turkey does not,” he said, adding that Turkey would not remain silent over Israel’s murder of children in Gaza. According to health authorities in the Gaza Strip, Israeli airstrikes have killed some 2,500 children in the city.
Erdogan also said he was cancelling plans to visit Israel because of its “inhumane” war in Gaza.
“We had a plan to go to Israel but it was cancelled, we won’t go,” Erdogan mentioned.
Ankara’s relations with Israel have been frozen since Israelis attacked a Turkish ship carrying aid to Gaza in 2010, killing 10 civilians.
Erdogan met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month during a UN summit in New York, marking an improvement in relations that began with last year’s decision to reassign ambassadors.
The Turkish leader did not say when he had intended to visit Israel, where Ankara had been considering joining a gas pipeline project promoted by the United States.
“Of course, we had good intentions, but (Netanyahu) abused them .... If he had had good intentions, our relations could have been different, but now, unfortunately, that won’t happen either,” Erdogan claimed.
Previously, it has reported that Turkey, which has historically had contacts with Hamas, are in talks aimed at freeing hostages held by militants of the Palestinian group. Before that, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE for coordinated efforts to halt the Hamas attacks on Israeli territory.