Hamas leader thanks Erdoğan for expelling Israeli envoy


Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday, thanking him for expelling Israel’s Ambassador to Ankara,
Eitan Na’eh, and for calling a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation over the deaths on the Gaza border.



In his letter, Haniyeh called on the Muslim nations participating in the emergency meeting in Turkey on Friday to present a decisive stance that would set a red line to what he called the blatant bias of the US administration towards Israel’s settlement construction and its plans to “Judaize” Jerusalem.


He urged the Muslim nations to make significant decisions to deal with the dangers and challenges that “Palestine, Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque face.”


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (Photos: AFP, EPA)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (Photos: AFP, EPA)


The Hamas leader also called for an Arab Islamic front that would defend Palestine. Furthermore, he urged the Muslim nations to demand an end of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade on Gaza and to come up with a plan to end the humanitarian crisis in the strip.


Haniyeh said he supported an Arab and Islamic strategy that would boycott Israel in all areas and prevent normalization with it. He also urged the Muslim leaders to bring Israeli leaders to justice at international courts.


Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called on Wednesday to bring Israel to justice at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the deaths of over 60 Palestinians on the Gaza border this week.


“Israel should be taken to the International Criminal Court. Since third parties cannot do it, Palestine needs to initiate this,” Çavuşoğlu told state broadcast TRT.


He noted Turkey will provide legal assistance to the Palestinians to that end.


“We are analyzing what kind of legal steps can be taken,” Çavuşoğlu said. “This crime against humanity should be probed by an independent commission and Israel should account for its actions before the law.”


He called on the UN Human Rights Committee to establish such an independent commission.


The Turkish foreign minister also called on the United Nations to act. “Palestine should be recognized and become a member country of the UN. From now on, the world needs to unremittingly exert efforts for a two-state resolution,” he said.


Earlier this week, Turkey recalled its ambassadors to Israel and the United States in protest of the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem and the high death toll on the Gaza border. It later expelled Israel’s ambassador to Ankara and Israel’s consul-general to Istanbul—moves that were answered in kind by Israel.


Turkish President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also exchanged barbs on Twitter, in the wake of Erdoğan’s criticism of Israel over the events in Gaza.



On Wednesday, Erdoğan accused Israel of “bullying,” adding that Turkey “will never allow Jerusalem to be stolen by Israel.”


“If Israel’s bullying is met with more silence, the world will rapidly be dragged into a chaos where thuggery prevails,” he said.


“Even if the whole world shuts their eyes, we will not allow Israeli cruelty. We will continue to be with our Palestinian siblings not only with our hearts, but with all our resources,” the Turkish leader added.


Erdoğan said Turkey had launched initiatives to get the issue onto the UN General Assembly’s agenda. He said Ankara was pressing members of the UN Security Council to be more active.


Reuters contributed to this story.


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