Why Is Turkey Sheltering a Dangerous Hamas Operative?

(Foreign Policy) Jonathan Schanzer - Turkey, a member of NATO, is an important base of operations for at least one high-ranking member of the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Turkey currently serves as the home for Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri, founder of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in the West Bank. In 2011, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan told a U.S. audience that Hamas was not a terrorist group, and he has repeatedly vowed to visit Gaza. Ankara has also provided Hamas with as much as $300 million in financial support. Veteran Israeli analyst of Palestinian affairs Ehud Yaari has noted that Turkey is allowing Arouri to direct efforts to rebuild Hamas' terrorism infrastructure in the West Bank. If Arouri really has, as Yaari writes, "taken sole control of the movement's activities in the West Bank," Turkey appears to have in effect taken over from Damascus and become Hamas' West Bank headquarters. To the letter of the law, Turkey could meet criteria as a state sponsor of terrorism.

2013-09-18 00:00:00

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