Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad condemn Herzog's visit to Turkey

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad condemn Herzog's visit to Turkey
2 min read
11 March, 2022
Both Palestinian armed movements criticised, in different tones, the Israeli president's visit to Ankara.
Turkey hosts several Hamas members on its territory. [Getty]

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement condemned on Wednesday the visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Turkey, where he held talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the same day.

In a press statement sent to The New Arab, Hamas said it had followed with great concern the visits of Israeli officials and leaders to several Arab and Islamic countries, the most recent of which was Herzog's visit to Turkey.

The statement expressed the movement’s regret over Israeli visits to Arab and Islamic countries, “which are a strategic depth for the Palestinian people and their just national cause".

The Islamist movement said Israel should not be allowed "to penetrate the Islamic and Arab states in the region and tamper with the interests of their peoples".

“Hamas rejects all forms of communication with Israel, which Judaises Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, imposes its siege on Gaza, arrests thousands of prisoners, kills children, demolishes homes, and displaces the Palestinian people,” said the Gaza-based group.

Hamas maintains strong relations with Turkey. The Turkish capital Ankara frequently receives visits from Hamas leaders.

Turkey also allowed Hamas leaders to move freely on its territory after they left Syria in 2012.

Meanwhile, the PIJ said in a statement that Herzog’s visit to Turkey “follows the Israeli escalation against Jerusalem, the plans to Judaise the holy sites, and the settlers' raids into Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

“The visit means siding with Israel against the Palestinian people's struggle,” the statement said, adding that “seeking to restore relations with Israel under the pretext of the interest of this or that country is a betrayal of Jerusalem and Palestine.”

Relations between Israel and Turkey began to deteriorate in 2009 after Erdogan, who was then the Turkish prime minister, became openly critical of Israeli policies against the Palestinians.

In 2010 Israel raided a group of civilian flotilla ships that were meant to reach Gaza, causing the death of several Turkish activists on board and sparking a diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Tel Aviv. Since then, the two countries have been engaged in several attempts to pursue full reconciliation.