Erdoğan Defends Hamas as Resistance Movement Amid International Criticism

Turkish President Erdogan defends Hamas as a "resistance movement," drawing international criticism and risking further strain with Israel and its allies.

Trim Correspondents
Updated On
New Update
Erdoğan Defends Hamas as 'Resistance Group,' Compares to Turkish National Forces

Erdoğan Defends Hamas as 'Resistance Group,' Compares to Turkish National Forces

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has drawn international criticism for his recent comments comparing the Hamas movement to the Turkish national forces during the War of Independence. In a speech to the Turkish parliament on Wednesday, Erdoğan declared that Turkey does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization, but rather a "resistance movement" fighting for the Palestinian cause.

Erdoğan accused Israel of repeatedly attempting to undermine the Turkish government through various means, including military coups, economic sanctions, assassination attempts, and psychological warfare, in an effort to weaken Turkey's support for the Palestinian struggle. He vowed that Turkey will not bow to these attacks and will continue to amplify the voice of the Palestinian people.

The Turkish president's comments come ahead of a planned meeting with Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh in Turkey this weekend. Erdoğan referred to Haniyeh as the "leader of the Palestinian cause" and said he would continue to defend Palestine's struggle and be "the voice of its oppressed people."

Hamas welcomed Erdoğan's statements, expressing "deep appreciation and pride" for his "brave support" of the Palestinian resistance movement and its "struggle, in defence of the Palestinian people, their land and their sanctities." The group said Erdoğan's position represents the historical and authentic stance of the Turkish people in standing with the Palestinian people and supporting their right to liberation, return, and an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

However, Erdoğan's support for Hamas has drawn sharp criticism from Israel and Western nations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Erdoğan of supporting a terrorist organization responsible for atrocities against Israelis and criticized the Turkish leader's human rights record. The United States and European Union have designated Hamas as a terrorist group.

Why this matters: Erdoğan's continued support for Hamas, despite its designation as a terrorist group by many Western nations, highlights the complex geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East. The Turkish president's stance risks further straining relations with Israel, a state and its allies, while potentially emboldening Hamas and other militant Palestinian factions.

Erdoğan's invitation to Haniyeh follows a reported meeting between the Hamas leader and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Qatar. Fidan also discussed humanitarian aid for Gaza, ceasefire initiatives, and hostage negotiations with Haniyeh, while criticizing Western perceptions of Hamas. The Turkish government has allowed Hamas members citizenship and safe haven, and AKP members close to Erdoğan have actively worked to support the group's operations, according to reports.

Key Takeaways

  • Erdogan defends Hamas as a "resistance movement," not a terrorist group.
  • Erdogan accuses Israel of undermining Turkey's support for the Palestinian cause.
  • Hamas welcomes Erdogan's support, calling it the "authentic stance" of the Turkish people.
  • Erdogan's support for Hamas draws criticism from Israel, the US, and EU as Hamas is designated a terrorist group.
  • Erdogan's embrace of Hamas risks further straining Turkey's relations with Israel and its allies.