Jerusalem (AFP) – Israel on Monday accused Turkey of helping the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas to gain in military strength, following its arrest and deportation of a Turkish citizen.
The Shin Bet intelligence agency said the movement’s “economic and military activity in Turkey takes place unhindered as Turkish officials turn a blind eye and — on occasion — encourage it”.
“This activity relies on — inter alia — business platforms that serve Hamas in laundering funds that are transferred to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and used in recruiting Israelis to its ranks,” it said.
Shin Bet said Turkish national Cemil Tekeli was arrested on January 1 on suspicion of aiding Hamas and later deported.
His alleged accomplice, Dharam Jabarin, an Arab Israeli, had also been arrested and is to be put on trial, the agency said.
“In Tekeli’s investigation, it was learned that Turkey contributes to the military strengthening of Hamas,” according to Shin Bet, which said the movement had laundered millions of dollars through Turkey.
Turkey has condemned a US decision to put the head of Hamas, which rules Gaza, on its terror blacklist, saying it hoped the move would not have a negative impact on Ankara’s humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory.