US ‘strongly objects’ to Turkish President Erdogan hosting Hamas leaders
The United States has slammed Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s hosting of two Hamas leaders in Istanbul, saying the Turkish President’s continued outreach to this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community.
“The United States strongly objects to Turkish President Erdogan hosting two Hamas leaders in Istanbul on August 22. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU and both officials hosted by President Erdogan are Specially Designated Global Terrorists,” US State Department said.
“The U.S. Rewards for Justice Program is seeking information about one of the individuals for his involvement in multiple terrorist attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings,” it added.
It further said President Erdogan’s continued outreach to this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community, harms the interests of the Palestinian people, and undercuts global efforts to prevent terrorist attacks launched from Gaza.
“We continue to raise our concerns about the Turkish government’s relationship with Hamas at the highest levels. This is the second time President Erdogan has welcomed Hamas leadership to Turkey this year with the first meeting occurring February 1,” the statement read.
This is the second time President Erdogan has welcomed Hamas leadership to Turkey this year with the first meeting occurring February 1.
US-Turkey ties have been strained over several issues including Ankara’s decision to purchase the Russian S-400 air defence system. Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement for the supply of S-400 air defence systems in September 2017. This resulted in the US suspending deliveries of F-35 fighter jets to its NATO ally.