US Ally ‘Firmly Backs’ Hamas

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country “firmly backs” Hamas in their fight against Israel. On March 9 in criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Erdogan said, “Netanyahu and his administration, with their crimes against humanity in Gaza, are writing their names next to Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, like today’s Nazis.” Erdogan continued by saying, “Turkey is a country that speaks openly with Hamas leaders and firmly backs them.”

Most of the West identifies Hamas as a terrorist organization. Among these nations are the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Turkey is an important U.S. ally in the region and has been a member of NATO since 1952.

Turkey holds a unique position in its political, religious and cultural identity. Its government is a democratically elected constitutional republic. It has no official religion but about 90% of Turkey’s population is Sunni Muslim. Since the end of the Second World War, Turkey has valued relationships with the U.S. and Europe while being at odds with its Islamic neighbors in the Middle East.

Netanyahu responded by saying, “Israel, which adheres to the laws of war, will not receive moral preaching from Erdogan, who supports murderers … of the terrorist organization Hamas, denies the Armenian Holocaust, massacres Kurds in his own country and elevates regime opponents and journalists.”

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) urges evacuations several hours before beginning military operations in a particular area of Gaza.

The war was ignited on October 7, 2023, by brutal Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians near the Gaza border. About 1,200 Israelis were killed during the attacks.

Turkey welcomed the nation of Israel after the Jewish state was established in 1948, but their attitude towards Israel has changed. Political analysts cite Erdogan’s AKP party of conservative, pro-Islamic supporters as the cause for the policy shift.

Erdogan has strong domestic support and political pressure to stay the course in support of Hamas.