Israeli MP targeted by Hamas calls for sanctions on Turkey
A prominent Israeli lawmaker has called for sanctions on Turkey after the Daily Telegraph reported that a plot against his life was planned in Istanbul.
The Telegraph said on Tuesday that Zacharia Najib, a senior Hamas operative based in Istanbul, had instructed an operative to kill one of three targets in Israel, including former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, now serving as a member of the Knesset.
In response, Barkat called the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and called on the administration of President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on Turkey.
"If we want to combat terror, which is a global problem, we must never allow any country to get away with providing infrastructure for terror organisations. If any country provides those services - openly or discreetly - they must be sanctioned,” the Telegraph quoted Barkat as saying in an interview.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry also called on Turkey to shut down Hamas’s operations and close its headquarters in Istanbul after the Telegraph’s investigation was published.
Hamas, viewed as a terrorist organisation by the United States, European Union and Israel, has built a significant presence in Istanbul. The Telegraph report said senior figures from the group were operating from Turkey’s largest city, citing police and intelligence reports from Israel and Egypt.
But the Turkish government views Hamas as a legitimate political organisation, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh last week. He also met Anas Altikriti and Zaher Birawi, prominent British Islamists with links to Hamas, during a visit to the NATO summit in Britain this month.
Turkey is already facing sanctions over its purchase of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia. A bill including measures against Turkey passed the Senate on Wednesday, and will now go to Trump for approval.