Erdogan: Hamas are freedom fighters, not terrorists; cancels Israel trip

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared Hamas as ‘freedom fighters,’ and rejected that it is a terrorist organization.
Hamas is not a terrorist organization and it should be recognized as a “group of freedom fighters,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas entered its 19th day of conflict, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties.

Erdogan also criticised both the Israeli government and the Western world, accusing them of having a “debt” to pay regarding the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

“Since 7 October, Israel has been carrying out one of the bloodiest and most brutal attacks in history. This picture alone is an indication that the aim is not self-defence but a crime of savagery aimed at committing a crime against humanity. You cannot find another country that bombs cities day and night with its warplanes, drowns the streets in fire with its buildings, and carries out the attack with its tanks and weapons,” he said, describing Israel’s offensive against Gaza as “the bloodiest and most brutal attacks in history.”

He added: “Hey, Israel, the West owes you a lot, but Turkey owes you nothing. Israel is killing children, and we have seen the condition of those children; we will never allow them to be torn apart, because we have humanity in us. Hamas is not a terrorist organization but a group struggling to protect its land and citizens.”

Erdogan also made clear that his previously planned visit to Israel, where he had once shaken hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had been canceled. He emphasized the importance of not harming children and urged a shift towards justice, asserting that an equitable world is essential.

Erdogan also placed responsibility for the ongoing tragedy in Gaza on those who provide unlimited support to Israel. He called for an immediate ceasefire, cessation of missile attacks by Israel, and a swift resolution of the hostage situation. Erdogan also urged the opening of corridors for urgent aid in Gaza and the facilitation of access for the injured.

The Turkish leader further emphasized the need to keep the Rafah Border Crossing open, allow humanitarian assistance to reach Gaza, and not hinder the rapid reconstruction of the city’s infrastructure. Turkey has already sent humanitarian aid to the region and pledged continued support.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry condemns Erdogan’s comments on Hamas, equating Hamas with ISIS

The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday that Israel’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks in which he defended Hamas by claiming that it is not a terrorist organization but a liberation group.

Lior Haiat, the ministry’s spokesman, expressed Israel’s firm stance against Erdogan’s comments on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).

Haiat stated, “Hamas is a despicable terrorist organization, worse than ISIS, that brutally and deliberately murders babies, children, women, and the elderly, takes civilians hostage, and uses its people as human shields.”

He further stated, “Even the Turkish president’s attempt to defend the terrorist organization and his inflammatory words will not change the horrors that the whole world has seen and the unequivocal fact: Hamas = ISIS.”