-President Erdogan has refused to acknowledge Hamas as a terrorist organization, allows Hamas to operate within Tukey’s borders-
As Erdogan once again refused to acknowledge Hamas is a terrorist organization, Congressmen Chris Pappas (NH-01) and Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) led a bipartisan group of 45 lawmakers in asking the U.S. Department of State to hold the Republic of Turkey accountable for its role in supporting and facilitating the operations of Hamas.
“The longstanding political, logistical, and financial support provided by Turkey and President Erdogan to Hamas is well-known and a matter of grave concern,” wrote the lawmakers.
They also drew attention to the fact that, “Turkey’s support for Hamas extends beyond rhetoric, a matter that has not received adequate attention from the United States. For over a decade, President Erdogan has made Turkey a sanctuary for Hamas, with experts describing it as ‘the second-largest Hamas base after Gaza,’” and that Hamas’s “Istanbul office has functioned as a crucial hub for strengthening Hamas’s capacity to launch attacks against Israel.”
They closed by calling for Turkey to “be held to the same standard as other allies when it comes to accountability for enabling such operations within its territory.”
The lawmakers are requesting that the U.S Department of State demand the Turkish government formally designate Hamas as a terrorist organization, take steps to stop Hamas and any affiliated entities operating in Turkey including revoking their Turkish citizenship, confiscating their Turkish passports, and expelling Hamas officials from the country, and investigate whether any Turkish officials were involved in Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel and report those findings to the U.S. Department of State.
The lawmaker’s call is supporting by the following organizations:
“Hamas’s brazen and brutal assault on Israel on October 7 was a wakeup call for many Americans who saw up close what the Iran-backed terrorist organization and other proxies can do to allies if their atrocities are met with impunity. Turkey has long been a haven for Hamas from where it planned terrorist attacks and was provided a permissive environment to use its financial system to support its terrorism. It’s unconscionable for a NATO member to engage in such activity. That’s why FDD Action strongly supports the bipartisan Congressional letter requesting that Secretary of State Blinken take immediate action to hold Turkey accountable for all the ways it gives comfort to and emboldens Hamas,” said FDD Action.
“For too long, the US has turned a blind eye to Turkey’s overt support of Hamas, essentially, because we let our desire for short-term regional stability to override confronting the problem. After the events of October 7th, we can safely say that was a misguided calculation. The result was a still growing number of innocents dead, and massive regional instability. Our policy must change. The State Department needs to use whatever leverage it has at its disposal to change Turkish behavior toward Hamas,” said Cliff Smith, Washington Project Director, Middle East Forum.
To view the letter in its entirety, here. Additionally, the pair of lawmakers were part of a multi-caucus statement condemning Erdogan’s comments on Hamas.