Turkey Denies Harboring Hamas Terrorists

(AP/Hamodia) -

Turkey on Thursday denied accusations that Hamas is using its territory to plan attacks against Israel.

The denial came following media reports that claimed that Turkey was turning a blind eye as commanders of the Hamas terror group were allegedly ordering attacks against Israel from Istanbul.

Former mayor of Yerushalayim Nir Barkat asked U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to convey his request to Washington to initiate sanctions against Turkey. Barkat, former police chief Roni Alsheich and former Likud MK Yehuda Glick were targeted for assassination by Hamas operatives in Turkey, according to a Daily Telegraph report.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the report on its Twitter account.

“We firmly reject the accusation that the Turkish territory is being used for any act against Israel or any other country,” the ministry said.

The ministry added, however, that Turkey and other countries don’t consider Hamas as a terrorist group “but as a political reality which has won the elections in Gaza back in 2006.”

“Various countries, including Turkey, have contacts with Hamas at different levels,” the ministry said.

In 2011, 11 Hamas prisoners who were freed from jails in Israel arrived in Istanbul as part of a prisoner exchange deal between the Palestinians and Israel.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who touts himself as the champion of the Palestinian cause, met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah in Istanbul over the weekend.