Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted a large delegation of Hamas leaders, including a wanted terrorist, in Istanbul over the weekend.
The delegation included Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri, a wanted terrorist with a $5 million bounty on his head.
Erdogan meet with Hamas leadership in Istanbul today.
Second from Erdogan’s right is Saleh al-Arouri, Hamas deputy leader. US has designated him a senior terrorist and has a $5m bounty on his head but Erdogan hosts him openly. pic.twitter.com/3JUzmsLXCL
— Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) August 22, 2020
Al-Arouri has been linked to several terrorist attacks against Israelis, including the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, which he praised as a “heroic operation.”
The meeting also included Hamas’ overseas leader Maher Salah, Hamas head of Arab and Islamic religions, Ezzat al-Rihiq, and Hamas representative in Turkey, Jihad Yaghmor.
The delegation met with the Turkish prime minister to discuss the U.S.-brokered normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which both sides deeply oppose.
Hamas and Turkey’s ruling party have roots in the Muslim Brotherhood. Erdogan in the past has panned the U.S. for “working with terrorists” in Syria, over U.S. support for Kurdish fighters combating ISIS.
Hamas head Ismael Haniyeh “congratulated Erdogan on the advent of a new Hijri year, discovery of a new natural-gas field and the reopening of the Aya Sofia Mosque,” according to a statement released by the terror group.
The Aya Sofia Mosque was one of two ancient churches that Turkey turned into mosques recently, causing a storm of controversy.
Hamas also said it was working against Israel’s “Judaization of Jerusalem.”
According to the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, Turkey has granted citizenship to senior operatives of a Hamas terrorist cell. The paper also reported that Hamas plotted terror attacks from Turkish soil.