The United States has strongly objected to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s meeting with two Hamas leaders, saying such moves would isolate Turkey and harm the interests of the Palestinian people.
A statement from US State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said, “The United States strongly objects to Turkish President Erdogan hosting two Hamas leaders in Istanbul on August 22.
State Department further said, “Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU and both officials hosted by President Erdogan are Specially Designated Global Terrorists. The U.S. Rewards for Justice Program is seeking information about one of the individuals for his involvement in multiple terrorist attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings.”
The spokesperson added, “President Erdogan’s continued outreach to this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community, harms the interests of the Palestinian people, and undercuts global efforts to prevent terrorist attacks launched from Gaza. We continue to raise our concerns about the Turkish government’s relationship with Hamas at the highest levels. This is the second time President Erdogan has welcomed Hamas leadership to Turkey this year with the first meeting occurring February 1.”
Note that the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post had reported two days ago that Hamas leader Ismail Abdel Salam Ahmed Haniyeh had met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.
According to the report, Ismail Haniyeh’s deputy Saleh Al-Arouri and the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency Hakan Fidan were also present in the meeting.
The report did not comment on issues raised during the meeting between the Turkish president and Hamas leader.
US President Donald Trump unilaterally decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opposed the controversial decision, saying Israel is a “terrorist” state that is killing children.