The Turkish president has heaped praise on Hamas terrorists, calling them “liberation fighters” in a shocking outburst that has sparked condemnation from European leaders.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today: “Hamas is not a terrorist organisation, it is a liberation group, ‘mujahideen’ waging a battle to protect its lands and people.”
Mr Erdogan slammed Israel’s Western allies following the October 7 massacre, saying sensationally that “Western tears shed for Israel are a manifestation of fraud”.
The Italian deputy PM branded the outburst “grave and disgusting”.
Matteo Salvini said: “I will propose to my colleague (Foreign Minister Antonio) Tajani to send a formal protest and to summon the Turkish Ambassador.”
The Turkish leader’s pronouncements came during an address to his ruling AK party.
The 69-year-old also demanded an immediate ceasefire and said Islamic states must act collectively to bring about peace in the region.
Despite his eye-catching statement, Erdogan’s Turkey still supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, the Eurasian nation does host members of Hamas in its territory, according to reports.
On October 16 the Turkish president met UK PM Rishi Sunak, warning the British leader to avoid “provocative steps” that will inflame tensions between Israel and Palestine.
During the phone call Mr Erdogan encouraged the West to “effectively object to the human rights violations in Gaza” and to “remember and fulfill the promises made to Palestine over the years”.
A Number 10 spokesperson made no note of the warning, simply saying that the leaders had “shared their concerns about the risk of violence spreading in the region and agreed to work together to mitigate against further escalation.”
Downing Street added that the two leaders had “discussed the importance of facilitating humanitarian aid to Gaza and taking all reasonable measures to protect civilians caught up in the violence.”