Turkish President Erdoğan has said that Hamas is a “liberation group”, vowing to support Palestine by all means possible.
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“Hamas is not a terrorist organisation. It is a liberation and mujahideen group fighting to protect its land and citizens”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday.
Strongly defending the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Erdoğan called on Israel to immediately declare a ceasefire, in a televised speech at a parliamentary group meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
In a direct address to Israel, Erdoğan said: “They came together again at that last meeting, and the whole of the West sees Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Israel, you may be such an organisation. The West owes you a lot, but Turkey owes you nothing. Israel is killing children. We can never allow these children to be torn to pieces”.
The Turkish president went on to say that Turkey would continue to use “all political, diplomatic and, if necessary, military means” to support the Palestinian cause.
Erdoğan also accused Israel of exploiting the “good intentions” of Turkey. The country had previously been working to improve its long-strained relations with Israel, but Erdoğan claimed that with the current state of mind, progress in Turkish-Israeli relations was unlikely, and announced that he had cancelled a planned trip to Israel.
He also said that those who unconditionally support Israel are behind the atrocities and destruction in Gaza. “Peace cannot be achieved unless the murderers are called murderers”, he said.
In the same speech in which Erdoğan urged Israel and those who support it to understand that sending more planes and warships to the region was not going to solve the problem, he also vowed to continue Turkish military attacks against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq.
“We will crush the heads of terrorists with these operations”, he said, as he celebrated a presidential mandate recently approved by the Turkish parliament that extends the authorisation for cross-border operations into Iraq and Syria for a further two years.
“Of course, history will not forgive those who, by saying ‘no’ to the mandate, tried to give life to the terrorists who could not come out of their hideouts because of our operations”, he added.
The mandate was approved in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly by 357 votes to 164, with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP – formerly the Green Left Party) voting against.