In the past few hours, Turkish President Recep Erdogan has blatantly sided with Hamas, calling the militiamen “liberators” and describing Israel’s response as “an atrocity aimed at killing children.” Turkey’s position is not surprising, as it is designed to achieve two tactical goals, against Iran and against the Abraham Accords. As much as possible, Ankara and Jerusalem maintain excellent relations. Intelligence cooperates, and before October 7, thousands of Israeli tourists were staying in Turkey. Above all, both countries are enemies of Iran and openly support Azerbaijan against Tehran, a military proximity that has determined Baku’s advance in Nagorno-Karabakh. Here comes Turkey’s first goal in the ongoing crisis, which is the reason for the current rhetoric in favor of the militia that struck the Jewish state. In defending Hamas’s demands, Erdogan first wants to sever the link between the Palestinian organization and the Islamic Republic.
Relations between Ankara and Hamas
Hamas has long been linked to Ankara – political leader Ismail Haniyeh travels on a Turkish passport – also because of the Muslim Brotherhood’s association with Turkey. But in recent years Iran has been able to present itself, through Qatar, as the main point of contact for the Palestinian militia. The Turkish President intends to break this partnership. It must be remembered that Ankara considers Jerusalem its property, “we built it,” as Erdogan has repeatedly claimed, which places the city on the same (or almost) level as Mecca and Medina. It is precisely the Islamic nationalist inspiration that is at the core of the second tactical objective. The Abraham Accords signed between Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan, with Saudi Arabia as the next signatory (at least before October 7), describe an Arab-Israeli front against Iran. This is a development that does not interest Turkey, which wants to place itself at the heart of this alignment instead of Israel. Hence the attempt to revive Islamic unity, as usual by using the Palestinian issue in a useful way, to signal to the Arab regimes that it is better to rely on Ankara, rather than the Jewish state. Perhaps exploiting the current weakness of the Israeli government, which is already under pressure on many fronts.
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