Israel Accuses People Close to Turkey of Helping Hamas Movement

Israel Accuses People Close to Turkey of Helping Hamas Movement

Tuesday, 13 February, 2018 - 14:30
Destroyed buildings in Gaza Strip. Finbarr O'reilly/ Reuters
Ankara, Tel Aviv- Asharq Al Awsat
Israel on Monday accused people close to the Turkish government of helping the Palestinian Hamas Movement, after it had arrested and deported a Turkish citizen.

Israel’s Internal Security Service, Shin Bet, pointed out to Hamas’s "economic and military activity in Turkey that takes place unhindered as Turkish officials turn a blind eye and encourage it,” AFP reported.

Shin Bet said Turkish national Cemil Tekeli was arrested on January 1 on suspicion of aiding Hamas and was later deported.

His alleged accomplice, Dharam Jabarin, an Arab Israeli, had also been arrested and is to be put on trial, it said.

Turkey on Tuesday condemned the Israeli claim of involvement with Hamas.

The Turkish foreign ministry said it rejected the allegations, describing the claim as "incompatible with reality and lacking in seriousness".

It is estimated that the number of Arabs in Israel is one million 400 thousand, comprised of 160,000 Palestinians who remained in their lands after the foundation of Israel in 1948; they constitute 17.5 percent of the population and suffer from discrimination, especially in the fields of jobs and housing.

The Shin Bet statement also accused Turkey of aiding Hamas’ military build-up, and Tekeli told his interrogators that Turkey sends money and arms to Hamas.

Shin Bet said its investigation discovered one company set up by Hamas in Turkey that was used to launder money collected for Hamas in other countries and then send it on to the territories. In this way, millions of dollars were sent to Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Turkey is considered one of the main supporters of Hamas. It condemned a US decision to put the head of Hamas on its terror blacklist.

US Foreign Secretary Rex Tillerson said in a statement that head of the political office of Hamas threatens stability in the Middle East and undermines the peace process with Israel.

Notably, Hamas was added to the US foreign terrorist organizations’ list in 1997.

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