No Thaw in Ties Until Hamas Booted Out of Istanbul, Israel Tells Turkey: Report

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party, during a meeting at parliament, in Ankara, Turkey, March 4, 2020. Photo: Turkish Presidential Press Office / Handout via Reuters.

i24 News – There will be no thaw in the ties between Turkey and Israel until the former closes the Istanbul office of the Hamas terrorist group, Jerusalem told Ankara on Monday, as reported by Ynet.

The same condition is reportedly also set for the return of the Jewish state envoy to the country.

Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Israel after its establishment, but the long-running friendship went sour in recent years under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In 2018, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel amid protests against the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Israel recalled its own envoy to Turkey.

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Erdogan has also been posturing as a key defender of Palestinian rights and hosted Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh during his tour abroad in early 2020.

In late October 2020, British daily The Times reported that the military wing of Hamas had established a secret facility in Istanbul, which it uses for cyberattacks on its foes.

The faction also has an official outlet in the city, which mostly deals with fundraising and other operations.

According to reports in late 2019, some of the group’s top militants were using Istanbul as a safe haven to plot attacks in Israel remotely.

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