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Erdoğan ally considers Hamas attack legitimate, urges gov’t to withdraw recognition of Israel

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The vice chairman of the radical Islamist Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR), an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has called Hamas’s Oct. 7 surprise attack that killed more than 1,400 Israelis “legitimate” after the party chairman called for Turkey to withdraw its recognition of Israel as a state.

Israel began pounding Gaza after Hamas militants carried out an unprecedented surprise attack in Israel on Oct. 7 that claimed more than 1,400 lives.

HÜDA-PAR has displayed one of the strongest reactions to the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza, which have so far claimed more than 5,700 lives, according to local health officials.

In an interview with Cansu Çamlıbel of the T24 news website, HÜDA-PAR Vice Chairman Serkan Ramanlı dismissed the reports about Hamas killing Israeli civilians as “Zionist propaganda” and said the Hamas attack on Israel was within the boundaries of legitimate resistance.

While Ramanlı expressed support for the general principle against killing innocent civilians, he remained skeptical of widespread video evidence and independent reports that implicated Hamas in the massacre.

“We cannot accept these claims just because the Zionists say so,” he said, claiming there is a need for “independent verification” of the facts surrounding the incidents.

Ramanlı also questioned Turkey’s existing diplomatic and trade relationships with Israel. “We do not approve of what we see as ‘normalization’ efforts with a Zionist regime,” he said, suggesting that any kind of relationship grants legitimacy to what they view as an occupying force in Palestine.

The interview, published on Tuesday, follows remarks made by party leader Zekeriya Yapıcıoğlu on Monday in which he called on Erdoğan’s government to sever all ties with Israel and reverse the country’s recognition of the State of Israel.

Turkey recognized the State of Israel in 1949.

Founded in 2012 on the ashes of the outlawed Kurdish Hizbullah, an extremist Sunni group that emerged in southeastern Turkey in 1985, HÜDA-PAR won three seats in the Turkish parliament in the May elections, thanks to its alliance with Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The Hamas-Israeli conflict came at a time when Turkey was just normalizing its relations with Israel after years-long tension.

Bilateral relations began to fray in 2008 following an Israeli military operation in Gaza.

Relations then froze in 2010 after the death of 10 civilians following an Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, part of a Turkish flotilla trying to breach a blockade by carrying aid into the Gaza enclave.

A brief reconciliation lasted from 2016 until 2018, when Turkey withdrew its ambassador and expelled Israel’s over the killing of Palestinians during a conflict with Gaza.

Following months of diplomatic warming, Israel and Turkey announced in August 2022 the full restoration of relations and the return of ambassadors to both countries.

Israel appointed Irit Lillian as its ambassador to Turkey, while Turkey named Şakir Özkan Torunlar as its Israeli envoy.

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