Erdogan says Hamas is not a terrorist outfit, cancels Israel trip

ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, in his strongest feedback but on the Gaza battle, stated on Wednesday the Palestinian militant group Hamas was not a terrorist organisation however a liberation group combating to guard Palestinian lands.
NATOmember Turkey condemned the civilian deaths attributable to Hamas’s Oct. 7 rampage in southern Israel, but additionally urged Israeli forces to behave with restraint of their response.Ankara has strongly criticised Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
“Hamas shouldn’t be a terrorist organisation, it’s a liberation group, ‘mujahideen’ waging a battle to guard its lands and folks,” he instructed lawmakers from his ruling AK Celebration, utilizing an Arabic phrase denoting those that battle for his or her religion.
Not like lots of its NATO allies and the European Union, Turkey doesn’t take into account Hamas a terrorist organisation and hosts members of the group on its territory. Ankara backs a two-state answer to the decades-old Israel-Palestinian battle.
Erdogan additionally slammed Western powers for supporting Israel’s bombing of Gaza and known as for an instantaneous ceasefire, the unhindered entry of humanitarian assist into Gaza and for Muslim international locations to work collectively to cease the violence.
“The perpetrators of the bloodbath and the destruction happening in Gaza are these offering limitless assist for Israel,” Erdogan stated. “Israel’s assaults on Gaza, for each itself and people supporting them, quantity to homicide and psychological sickness.”
Israel rejected Erdogan’s description of Hamas, with Overseas Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat calling the group “a despicable terrorist organisation”.
“Even the Turkish president’s try to defend the terrorist organisation and his inciting phrases won’t change the horrors that the entire world has seen,” Haiat wrote on social media platform X.
Erdogan’s feedback additionally drew a swift rebuke from Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who stated they have been “grave and disgusting and didn’t assist with de-escalation”. He urged Italy’s international minister to lodge a proper protest with Ankara.
Shares in Istanbul dropped 7% on Wednesday in a slide that merchants attributed to Erdogan’s feedback on Hamas.
The combating in Gaza comes at a time when Turkey is working to fix its ties with Israel after years of acrimony, specializing in vitality as an space of cooperation.
Indicating that these normalisation efforts have been now suspended, Erdogan accused Israel of profiting from Turkey’s “good intentions” and stated he had cancelled a beforehand deliberate go to to Israel.
“I shook the hand of this man named Netanyahu one time in my life,” Erdogan stated, referring to his assembly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the U.N. Common Meeting final month.
“If he (Netanyahu) had continued with good intentions, our relationships may need been totally different, however now, sadly, that won’t occur both as a result of they took benefit of our good intentions,” he added.
Erdogan accused the West of hypocrisy for failing to answer what he known as Israel’s “intentional bloodbath” in Gaza with the identical decisiveness because it did to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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