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Erdogan boasts: More than 1,000 Hamas members are treated in Turkey

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(A7) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday boasted of the fact that more than 1,000 members of the Hamas terrorist organization were being treated in hospitals across Turkey, Reuters reported.

Erdogan made the comments at a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Ankara. He also rebuked the Greek Prime Minister, after he referred to Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Mitsotakis said that Israel had entered Gaza after losing its citizens in a “terror” incident, and that Greece considered Hamas a “terrorist organization.”

Erdogan said in response, “If you call Hamas a ‘terrorist organization,’ this would sadden us. We don’t deem Hamas a terrorist organization… More than 1,000 members of Hamas are under treatment in hospitals across our country.”

A Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, later said that Erdogan had meant to refer to Palestinian Arabs from Hamas-run Gaza in general, rather than Hamas members.

“President Erdogan misspoke, he meant 1,000 Gazans are under treatment, not Hamas members,” a Turkish official said, according to Reuters.

Erdogan has increased his verbal attacks on Israel since the start of the war in Gaza on October 7.

In one speech, the Turkish President said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “committed one of the greatest atrocities of this century in Gaza and has already put his name down in history as the butcher of Gaza.”

On Sunday,Erdogan said that the United States and European countries were not doing enough to pressure Israel to agree a ceasefire in Gaza, after Hamas’ move to accept a truce proposal.

Speaking to Muslim scholars in Istanbul, Erdogan said Hamas had accepted a ceasefire proposal by Qatar and Egypt in a “step in the path toward a lasting ceasefire”, but Netanyahu’s government did not want the war to end.

“The response of the Netanyahu government was to attack the innocent people in Rafah,” he charged. “It has become clear who sides with peace and dialogue, and who wants clashes continuing and more bloodshed.

“And did Netanyahu see any serious reaction for his spoiled behavior? No. Neither Europe nor America showed a reaction that would force Israel into a ceasefire,” added Erdogan.

The Turkish Trade Ministry recently said it had suspended all export and import operations with Israel due to what it described as its “aggression against Palestine in violation of international law and human rights.”

The move came several weeks after Turkey restricted exports to Israel of 54 product categories.

Erdogan later said that Turkey’s move to halt trade with Israel was designed to force the country to a ceasefire in Gaza.

 

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