Experts warn of diplomatic fallout from Erdogan's pro-Hamas stance

Experts warn of diplomatic fallout from Erdogan's pro-Hamas stance
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Statements by the Turkish president stir diplomatic tensions as experts weigh in on potential fallout.

In a recent address, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made assertive remarks about Israel, stating, "Hamas is not a terrorist organization." He emphasized Turkey harbors no ill feelings towards Israel but criticized its actions against Palestine, comparing them to an "organization." Erdogan also disclosed canceling an upcoming visit to Israel.

The remarks caught the attention of retired Ambassadors Unal Cevikoz and Oguz Demiralp, who shared insights with Artı Geçek, unanimously foreseeing strained diplomatic ties for Turkey, not just with Israel but also with Western nations and regional allies.

Expression matters

Cevikoz pinpointed Erdogan's articulation style, noting many countries globally and regionally classify Hamas as a terrorist group. She elaborated, "The issue isn't differing opinions but how these opinions are conveyed."

Cevikoz also highlighted longstanding Turkey-Israel issues regarding Hamas and warned Erdogan's statements could jeopardize Turkey's international affiliations.

He also warned of potential Cairo strains, remarking, "This time, Israel seems intent on eliminating Hamas. Differing stances by Ankara might strain not only Israel ties but also regional countries, particularly Egypt, and even allies."

The Hamas problem

Demiralp, acknowledging he anticipated Erdogan's statement, highlighted the UN Secretary General's refrain from labeling Hamas a terrorist group due to no international agreement. "In international law terms, Hamas could be seen as a resistance organization," he said. However, he stressed criticizing Hamas's ideology, behavior, and serious attributed war crimes.

Demiralp criticized Israel's disregard for international law, equating some actions to "genocide." He called for the international criminal court to scrutinize Israel's actions. Elaborating on the Palestinian issue, Demiralp expressed it is a global concern, hinting that unless the occupation ends, organizations like Hamas would inevitably emerge, describing them as "resistance organizations" sometimes resorting to "illegitimate violence."