Last week’s electoral wins for Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) prompted celebration among Palestinians in Gaza, Al-Monitor reports. Hamas officials made numerous congratulatory calls and sent cables to the Turkish party’s leadership.
Turkey is the only NATO country that officially embraces Hamas leaders and supports the terrorist organization politically.
Thousands of Hamas members in the Jabaliya refugee camp participated in a mass rally celebrating Turkey’s municipal election, which strengthened Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s power. Candy and sweets were handed out in the streets. Hamas activists flooded social networking pages with congratulatory statements and pictures of Hamas leaders with Erdogan.
Hamas calls for all nations to severe ties with Israel and advocates for the complete destruction of the Jewish state. Turkey provides financial support, training and consulting to Hamas officials.
A Hamas source said that Turkey and Israel’s potential restoration of ties will not affect Turkey’s support for Hamas.
“There are constant calls between Hamas leaders and the Turkish prime minister and his foreign minister regarding the progress of dialogues. The last of these calls was between [Prime Minister Ismail] Haniyeh and Erdogan after the latter won the municipal elections, and Erdogan filled Haniyeh in on the details of the dialogues with Israel,” the unnamed source said.
The electoral gains enhance Turkey’s role as a potential mediator in a future conflict, the Hamas source said. “This also strengthens Turkey’s relations with European countries, when it supports Hamas’ stances, demands opening dialogue with Hamas and supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.”
Turkey helped Hamas and its leadership open lines of communication with Western officials in an effort to remove the group from the list of terrorist organizations, the source said.
“With Turkish mediation, we met many current and former diplomats and officials in Ankara and Istanbul, and used our meetings with them to make our case for the removal of Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations, which would help bolster security and stability in the region. And Turkey offered clear support for our position.”