GOP Sen. Lee floats kicking Turkey out of NATO over Erdogan’s Hamas stance
By Ben Whedon
Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee has suggested removing Turkey from NATO in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent comments insisting that Hamas is not a terrorist organization.
“Erdogan’s position is a willful rejection of reality. Hamas is a violent terrorist organization,” Lee declared on Thursday. “That is a fact. Erodgan’s blatant dismissal of Hamas and its violence is antithetical to the security interests of the U.S. and NATO, and removing Turkey from the alliance needs to be on the table.”
Erdogan this week told Turkish lawmakers that “Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it is a liberation group, ‘mujahideen’ waging a battle to protect its lands and people,” Reuters reported. Mujahideen is an Arabic term largely used to refer to Islamic soldiers fighting on behalf of Allah.
“This is not the language of one who values his country’s relationship with the United States and membership in NATO—which should now be reconsidered,” Lee said Wednesday, immediately following Erdogan’s address. NATO has never expelled a member nation nor have any left of their own accord.
The Turkish president’s statements followed an Oct. 7 Hamas raid on Israel that saw the group take roughly 200 hostages and kill more than 1,000 civilians. The raid has since prompted an Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip and the conflict threatens to erupt into a wider war. Erdogan has further criticized Israel’s strikes on Gaza as a “massacre” and criticized the western world for backing Jerusalem’s efforts.
“The perpetrators of the massacre and the destruction taking place in Gaza are those providing unlimited support for Israel. Israel’s attacks on Gaza, for both itself and those supporting them, amount to murder and mental illness,” he said.
Under Erdogan, Turkey has intervened military in numerous conflicts throughout the Middle East, including in Libya and Syria, where Ankara has occupied northern stretches of the latter nation’s territory amid the ongoing civil war. More recently, Turkey backed Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over the disputed Artsakh region.
This article appeared in Just the News on October 26, 2023