Turkey’s Erdoğan, Hamas leader Haniyeh discuss Gaza

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after a Hamas delegation arrived in Turkey on Dec. 8, The Times of Israel reported.

The delegation led by Haniyeh and Erdoğan discussed the urgent humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip during a meeting on Saturday, a week after arriving in Turkey during the first leg of a foreign tour, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“The Hamas delegation spoke about the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in light of the ongoing siege and the necessary measures to end it,” The Times of Israel quoted a report by the official website of Hamas as saying.

Haniyeh arrived in Turkey as part of a foreign tour including visits to Malaysia, Russia, Qatar, Lebanon, Mauritania and Kuwait.

Erdoğan and his Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) have faced criticism over their ideological ties with Hamas, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union. 

Reports attributed to Israeli intelligence say that Turkey has been providing financial and military support to the group.

Erdoğan has repeatedly said that he does not view Hamas as a terrorist organisation, but as a resistance movement working to liberate Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.