Giovanni Giacalone
Eyes everywhere

Erdogan turned Turkey into a terror-supporting State

Ismail Haniyeh and Reccep Erdogan (Anadolu Ajansi)

Turkish President Recep Erdogan said on Saturday that Ankara “firmly backs” the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, despite the October 7th massacre.

“No one can make us qualify Hamas as a terrorist organization,” he said in a speech in Istanbul. “Turkey is a country that speaks openly with Hamas leaders and firmly backs them.”

He also stated that “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 basically stated that he supports a terrorist organization blacklisted by the US, Israel, the UK, the European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia and several others. He supports a terrorist organization that perpetrated the worst genocide against Jews after the Shoah; a massacre that Erdogan has so far not condemned.

However, his statements are not surprising given his history as an Islamist leader and considering what Turkey has become under his rule.

Domestically, Turkey has become one of the largest prisons for journalists in the world, as already reported by Amnesty International. The press critical of Erdogan is constantly targeted through the use of the judiciary and, at the end of 2022, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) indicated that the number of imprisoned journalists for that year doubled in comparison to the previous year, with Turkey becoming the fourth most prolific jailer of journalists globally behind Iran, China and Myanmar.

In June 2020, Enis Berberoglu, Leyla Guven and Musa Farisugullari, all parliament members belonging to the opposition party CHP, were also arrested.

Turkey under Erdogan’s rule also became a terror-supporting State and not just for Hamas. In 2015, Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Dundar and Ankara Bureau chief Gül were arrested on “terrorism charges”, over a story on trucks owned by the National Intelligence Agency (MIT), Turkey’s state intelligence agency, which were stopped and searched in southern Turkey in early 2014 while allegedly carrying weapons to jihadists in Syria.

Moreover, it is worth recalling the story regarding the consulate of the “Islamic State” that opened in Istanbul in 2014, as claimed back then by the former chief of ISIS Foreign Relations, Abu Omar al-Tunisi, who defined Turkey as a “friendly country”.

Additionally, medical assistance was also provided to jihadists inside hospital facilities in Turkish territory, as reported back in 2016 by Italian journalist Alessandra Benignetti.

In September 2020, Israeli journalist Mordechai Kedar explained how ISIS, once settled in Siraq, quickly became successful in producing oil and selling it as an important source of income, as well as how it was able to ensure a constant supply of weapons, ammo, vehicles and advanced communication tools. Kedar indicates that all this was made possible thanks to the connections to Turkey over the years and to the Muslim Brotherhood network in the country, an Islamist extremist organization of which Erdogan is a strong supporter. Let’s not forget that Hamas is the Palestinian expression of the Muslim Brotherhood, formed as an offshoot of the Egyptian organization operating in Gaza.

Before proceeding with absurd comparisons between Israel and the Nazis, Erdogan should keep well in mind that it was Jerusalem’s Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who received Hitler with honors and told him that “Arabs and Germans were natural friends because they shared the same enemies” (read full official record published by The Times of Israel here). Erdogan should also bear in mind that many copies of Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” were recovered by the IDF in Gaza in the past months during the military operations.

Turkey under Erdogan’s rule is not very different from Iran under the Ayatollah. If a State supports terrorist organizations, it becomes a terror-supporting State, but in Turkey’s case, it is also a NATO member. Kedar was very correct when he wrote that “Turkey was deserting its European allies”, and not just the Europeans. This is very likely to become a very consistent problem, as it is becoming increasingly difficult to look the other way.


About the Author
Giovanni Giacalone is a senior analyst in Islamist extremism and terrorism at the Italian Team for Security, Terroristic Issues and Managing Emergencies-Catholic University of Milan, at the Europe desk for the UK-based think tank Islamic Theology of Counter-Terrorism, and a researcher for Centro Studi Machiavelli. Since 2021 he is the coordinator for the "Latin America group" at the International Institute for the Study of Security-ITSS. In 2023 Giacalone published the book “The Tablighi Jamaat in Europe”.
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