Turkish Foreign Minister Meets with Hamas Leader in Qatar

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Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh during a visit to Qatar on June 9. Fidan arrived in Doha for a ministerial meeting of the Turkey-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) High Level Strategic Dialogue. His encounter with Haniyeh took place on the sidelines of the meeting, with the pair photographed in front of a backdrop featuring the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not provide a readout of the meeting, but Fidan’s rhetoric against Israel — together with that of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — has grown more caustic in recent weeks. Turkey’s strong support for Hamas and growing ties with Russia position it further from the policies of the United States and fellow NATO member states, who will be meeting in Washington next month.

Expert Analysis

“This meeting is only possible because of a deliberate U.S. policy to allow Hamas to live freely in Qatar and coordinate its activities with state sponsors.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Turkey misses no opportunity to openly and consistently display its affinity for Hamas. This most recent meeting between Haniyeh and Foreign Minister Fidan took place less than a week after the Shin Bet announced it had foiled a major terrorist attack planned in Turkey that would have occurred in Israel. The Turkish government is not just engaging in a PR campaign for Hamas. It is wholeheartedly committed to enabling the terrorist entity’s operational goals.” — Sinan Ciddi, FDD Non-Resident Senior Fellow

Fidan Rallies Allies Against Israel

Fidan’s meeting with Haniyeh occurred in the wake of the foreign minister’s rallying cry against Israel at a June 8 meeting of the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation — an alliance composed of the eight most-populous Muslim nations. “In this period when we bear a historical responsibility for Palestine, we are activating every international platform to stop the massacre carried out by Israel as soon as possible,” Fidan wrote on X regarding the D-8 meeting. “We discussed diplomatic, political, economic and legal pressure measures on Israel. The concrete decisions we took at the meeting will further isolate Israel and contribute to the freedom of our Palestinian brothers.” Fidan announced on May 1 that Turkey would seek to join South Africa’s “genocide” case against Israel at the International Court of Justice. The following day, Turkey suspended all trade with Israel.

Turkey Positions Itself as Top Hamas Supporter

Turkey and Qatar are among Hamas’s top supporters behind its primary sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Haniyeh and other top Hamas operatives split their time between the two states, hold Turkish and Qatari passports, and operate headquarters for the terrorist organization in Doha and Istanbul. Fidan last met face-to-face with Haniyeh in Turkey in January, while Erdogan met with Haniyeh on April 20.

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