Turkey rejects US criticism of Erdogan-Hamas meeting, FM says – Middle East Monitor

Turkey rejects a statement by the US State Department objecting to a recent meeting between President Tayyip Erdogan and two leaders of Hamas in Istanbul, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

The United States has said it strongly objected to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent hosting of two leaders of Hamas in Istanbul.

“Declaring the legitimate representative of Hamas, who came to power after winning democratic elections in Gaza and is an important reality of the region, as a terrorist will not be of any contribution to efforts for peace and stability in the region,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said.

It added that Ankara had called on the United States to use its regional influence for a “balanced policy” that will help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead of “serving Israel’s interests”.

The meeting, which took place Saturday, featured a Hamas delegation including chief of Hamas abroad Maher Salah, head of Hamas’ Arab and Islamic relations office Ezzat Al-Rishiq and Hamas representative in Turkey Jihad Yaghmor.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said that the US’ position reflects the “bullying and terrorism” exercised by the American administration.

“Hamas is a national movement that is in a freedom struggle against the Israeli occupation and its terrorism,” he said.

READ: Turkey says Bolton’s book ‘misleading’ on Erdogan-Trump conversations

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