Middle East: Erdogan meets Hamas foreign chief Haniya in Istanbul

Middle East: Erdogan meets Hamas foreign chief Haniya in Istanbul

The Turkish President repeatedly criticizes Israel and accuses its Prime Minister Netanyahu of committing a “massacre” in the Gaza Strip. Now Erdogan receives Hamas foreign chief Haniya.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met the foreign chief of the Islamist Hamas, Ismail Haniya, in Istanbul on Saturday. The two wanted to discuss, among other things, humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip and a ceasefire, as state broadcaster TRT reported after the talks began in the early afternoon. Further details were initially not known.

Despite Erdogan’s verbal attacks against the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Turkey has recently made greater efforts to play a mediating role in the Gaza war. Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan also met Hanija during a visit to Qatar on Wednesday. According to Turkish media, it was also about the release of Israeli hostages from Gaza.

Erdogan describes Hamas as a liberation organization

Erdogan publicly supports Hamas. He had condemned the Islamist massacre that left 1,200 dead in Israel on October 7th. However, he later repeatedly described the Hamas terrorist organization responsible for this as a liberation organization. Erdogan once again attacked Netanyahu this week and accused the Israeli head of government of committing a “massacre” in the Gaza Strip. Israel has repeatedly and firmly rejected Erdogan’s statements.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal (Saturday), the Hamas political leadership is considering leaving its current base in Qatar and possibly settling in Oman instead. The Islamists contacted at least two countries in the region in recent days to ask whether they would be open to the relocation of Hamas’ political leadership to their capitals, the newspaper reported, citing an unnamed source. Information about a possible reaction from Oman was initially not available. It is also unknown who the Hamas leadership contacted beyond Oman.

Qatar, the USA and Egypt are mediating in the conflict

Hanija has reportedly been living a luxurious life in Qatar with part of his family for years. If the Hamas political leadership leaves Qatar, this could jeopardize the delicate talks about the release of dozens of Israeli hostages from Gaza. Israel and Hamas have been indirectly negotiating a ceasefire and the release of more hostages for months. Qatar, the USA and Egypt are acting as mediators. A breakthrough in the negotiations is currently not foreseeable.

Source: Stern

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