Turkey gives Hamas military assistance – Israeli intelligence

Turkey has rejected claims brought up in an investigation by Israeli intelligence that it has helped strengthen Hamas, the Islamist governing party of the blockaded Palestinian territory of Gaza, the Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

Israel’s claims came after a Turkish citizen, Cemil Tekeli, was arrested attempting to board a plane at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport.

The ensuing investigation by Israeli internal intelligence agency Shin Bet reportedly found that Tekeli had provided personal and economic assistance in Turkey to several operatives from Hamas, a group that Israel considers a terrorist organisation. All of these operatives had moved to Turkey after been involved in terrorist attacks against Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Shin Bet’s findings implied that Turkish officials had turned a blind eye to money flowing from Hamas to Tekeli, said the report.

The investigation also pointed fingers at the Turkish private security company SADAT, which reportedly has close ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s and on its website describes its mission as “Defensive Collaboration and Defensive Industrial Cooperation among Islamic Countries to help Islamic World (sic).”

The Shin Bet’s investigation alleged that Turkey is providing financial and military assistance to Hamas through SADAT, adding that the defence firm had brought Hamas officials to a defence exhibit to look at unmanned aerial vehicles.

“The findings of the investigation illustrate the extensive military and economic activity of Hamas in Turkey, which takes place uninterrupted as Turkish government officials turn a blind eye, and sometimes even encourage with the assistance of Turkish citizens, some of whom are close to the administration,” the Jerusalem post quoted the Shin Bet statement as saying.

Turkey’s foreign ministry denied the accusations in a statement that read “It is out of the question for Turkey to permit an activity on its soil that can jeopardize the security of another country.”

Tekeli also denied the allegations, and claimed that he had been tortured and drugged by the Shin Bet during his internment between his arrest on Jan. 15 and his deportation back to Turkey on Feb. 11.