Erdoğan meets with Hamas leader Haniyeh

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received the head of the Hamas politburo, Ismail Haniyeh, in Istanbul on Saturday and spoke to him about humanitarian aid and a potential ceasefire. Was this show of closeness a blatant faux pas or clever politics?

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Cumhuriyet (TR) /

President comes out as an Islamist

The Kemalist newspaper Cumhuriyet is appalled:

“Erdoğan compared the fundamentalist terrorist organisation Hamas with the Kuvâ-yi Milliye independence movement founded and led by state founder Atatürk. ... This comparison is not only completely at odds with historical facts, it is also an insult to the Kuvâ-yi Milliye and Atatürk and once again proves Erdoğan's sharia-orientated, fundamentalist mindset. ... The fact that Erdoğan met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh instead of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of Palestine, and has intensified his relations with Hamas since coming to power also clearly demonstrates Erdoğan's Islamist and fundamentalist political line.”

Sabah (TR) /

Seeking to reconcile Palestinian groups

Pro-government newspaper Sabah writes in praise:

“Turkey's aim is to mobilise the 'One Palestine' formula to prevent Israel and the US from dragging the entire region into war, and to push for a two-state solution that has worldwide support. ... Turkey has long been making serious efforts to end the conflict between Hamas and Fatah. Presenting these two organisations to the international community as a 'reconciliation government' will not only change the political balance in Israel, but also counter the [US's and Israel's] sombre prognoses for the region as a whole.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Turkey set to become new mediator in Gaza war

Erdoğan can score diplomatic points precisely by maintaining good relations with Hamas, writes the taz:

“If Qatar withdraws as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, as it is reportedly planning to do, Israel will have to accept Turkey as a replacement. ... And that is what the Palestinian Islamists, who have made things too difficult for Qatar for too long and are now apparently threatened with expulsion from the emirate, want. Negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of the hostages still held in the Gaza Strip require a mediator who is trusted by Hamas. Neither Egypt nor Saudi Arabia can fulfil this role. For better or worse, Netanyahu will have to bite the bullet if he wants to negotiate.”