Turkey has now become an active member of the anti-Israel axis spearheaded by Iran but retains its independence in operations against the Jewish state while extending its cooperation with Hamas.
After Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, last week, lambasted Israel during a conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and accused the Jewish state of “executing and merciless murdering innocent girls, fathers, mothers, elderly people, children and young people on the streets of Palestine” the Turkish dictator met with Hamas leader Ishmail Haniyeh and other high-ranking officials of the terror organization.
Haniyeh together with other Hamas leaders, among them arch-terrorist Saleh al-Arouri who has an American bounty of $5 million on his head, is currently making a long tour which first brought them to Turkey and then to Qatar, Malaysia, and Pakistan.
Last weekend, Erdogan met with Haniyeh in Istanbul after which he vowed to continue “supporting our brothers in Palestine.”
This, despite the fact that he in 2015 made a deal with Israel, which obliged him to act against Hamas’ terrorist activities against the Jewish state from Turkish soil.
The Telegraph in the United Kingdom reported on Wednesday that “Turkey isallowing senior Hamas operatives to plot attacks against Israel from Istanbul.”
The British paper obtained transcripts of Israeli police interrogations which showed that “senior Hamas operatives are using Turkey’s largest city to direct operations in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, including an assassination attempt earlier this year on the mayor of Jerusalem.”
The Telegraph was referring to former Jerusalem mayor and current Likud MK Nir Barkat who built himself a reputation of terrorist-hunter during his term of mayor.
Erdogan ignores frequent Israel requests asking him to stop Hamas from using Turkey as a launch path for terrorist attacks against the Jewish state and instead allows the Sunni Islamist group maintaining a permanent presence in the country of 80 million.
According to Egyptian and Israeli intelligence last year alone a dozen of high-ranking Hamas officials moved their offices to Turkey.
A Palestinian Arab in Gaza told the British paper that “there are a lot of Hamas leaders who come to Istanbul with their families and their children. Why is it that Hamas’ leaders get to leave the situation in Gaza when the people have no jobs or services,” the resident of Gaza said.
In fact, it’s worse.
In June this year, Suheib Yousef, a son of Hamas’ spiritual leader Hassan Yousef and brother of Musab Yousef who defected and worked for the Israeli intelligence service Shin Beth, exposed Hamas’ terrorist activities in Turkey and reported widespread corruption among Hamas operatives living in the country.
The so-called “political branch” of Hamas in Turkey is, in reality, an intelligence gathering and military operation under the cover of civil society, Suheib told Ohad Hemo of TV Channel 12 in Israel.
The two met in an Asian country after Suheib decided to quit Hamas as well and left Turkey in order to seek refuge in Asia where Hemo met the Palestinian Arab in a mosque.
Erdogan sees himself as the sole patron of the Palestinian Arabs and the leader of the Sunni Muslims in the Middle East.
Over the past few months, he repeatedly bashed Israel and compared the country to Nazi-Germany while at the same time making aggressive moves which further destabilized the Middle East and that raised questions about Turkey’s NATO membership.
Last week, Erdogan signed a memorandum of understandings (MOU) with the Libyan government about maritime zones in the Mediterranean Sea which effectively cut the sea in half.
The move exacerbated already high tensions in the region and drew the ire of Egypt, Israel, Greece, and Cyprus.
Shortly after closing the deal with the UN-recognized Libyan government Erdogan made clear he wouldn’t allow Israel to build a gas pipeline to Europe something which is important for Israeli gas exports.
An official of the Israeli embassy in Turkey was called in for a conversation after the MOU came into effect and was told that the construction of the pipeline required Erdogan’s approval.
Earlier this week, a Turkish navy vessel also harassed an Israeli ship which conducted research into additional gas fields in the coastal waters of Cyprus and forced it to leave the area despite the fact that it was operating in tandem with the Cypriote authorities.
Turkey illegally occupies northern Cyprus and has no economic rights in the waters surrounding Cyprus while the government in Nicosia signed an agreement with Israel about cooperation in the search for additional gas fields near the Island.
“The Turks are trying to establish themselves as the ones running the show (in the region), and that is very worrying,” an unnamed Israeli official told TV Channel 13 in Israel.