Turkish President Praises Hamas As A ‘Liberation Group,’ Cancels Trip To Israel

(Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday in a speech to party lawmakers that Hamas is not a terrorist organization and announced that he was canceling a planned trip to Israel.

“Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it is a liberation group, ‘mujahideen’ waging a battle to protect its lands and people,” Erdogan said, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Israel Tells Citizens To Leave Turkey Over Safety Concerns)

“I will not visit Israel as I had planned to — it has abused Turkey’s good intentions,” he continued, Israel National News reported. Erdogan had told 15 Jewish leaders in September that he was planning to visit Israel soon, according to the outlet.

Israel and Turkey reestablished normal diplomatic ties in 2022, Israel National News noted.

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lior Haiat responded to the speech by posting a tweet attacking Erdogan’s description of Hamas.

“Israel wholeheartedly rejects the Turkish President’s harsh words about the terrorist organization Hamas. Hamas is a despicable terrorist organization worse than ISIS that brutally and intentionally murders babies, children, women and the elderly, takes civilians hostage and uses its own people as human shields. Even the Turkish president’s attempt to defend the terrorist organization and his inciting words will not change the horrors that the whole world has seen and the unequivocal fact: Hamas = ISIS,” he wrote.

Hamas is an internationally designated terrorist group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007. Hamas invaded southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing over 1,400 people and taking hundreds back to Gaza as hostages.

Turkey has been a NATO member since 1952.