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Hamas 'are not terrorists', says Turkey's President Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan adjusts his sunglasses during a military parade in the Turkish occupied area of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday, July 2023
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan adjusts his sunglasses during a military parade in the Turkish occupied area of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday, July 2023 Copyright Petros Karadjias/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Petros Karadjias/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AFP
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"Western powers shed tears for Israel and do nothing else," lamented the Turkish president.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called Hamas "liberators" and condemned the West for not stopping Israel's assault on Gaza. 

Turkey's president said on Wednesday he was abandoning plans to go to Israel, vowing "we will not go". 

Referring to a past meeting with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, he said: “I shook this man’s hand, we had good intentions but he abused us.” 

His fiery speech was made in front of Turkish lawmakers, who chanted “down with Israel” and “Allah Abkar” (God is great).

“Relations could have been different but that will no longer happen, unfortunately,” added the Turkish president.

Erdogan condemned Israel, claiming “you will not find any other state whose army behaves with such inhumanity.” 

Since Hamas's surprise attack against southern Israel on 7 October, which killed 1,400 people, Israel has bombed the Gaza Strip and laid siege to its population. 

Some 5,800 people have been killed in Israeli strikes, according to Hamas-controlled health authorities. 

Erdogan claimed the militant Palestinian group were not terrorists, but “liberators who protect their land”.

“Hamas is not a terrorist group, it is a group of liberators who protect their land,” he said.

Turkey's leader then attacked "Western powers [who] shed tears for Israel and do nothing else", blasting their "incapacity to stop Israel".

“That those who mobilised the world in favour of Ukraine did not speak out against the massacres in Gaza is the most blatant sign of their hypocrisy,” he claimed. 

“As long as innocent people continue to die in Gaza, no ship or plane sent to our region will bring peace.”

The Turkish president called for an "independent Palestine", proposing that Turkey act as a "guarantor" of any future agreement.

On Tuesday, Erdogan accused the United Nations Security Council of having "aggravated the crisis" in the Gaza Strip through its "biased" attitude. 

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He claimed the international organisation's handling of the crisis had significantly damaged is reputation, saying it was "unable to ensure a ceasefire as quickly as possible and take measures to avoid civilian casualties."

Having called for restraint in the immediate aftermath of Hamas' massacre and Israel's retaliation in Gaza, the Turkish president has struck more of a confrontational tone towards Israel. 

He denounced an alleged "genocide" after a strike last week that hit a hospital in Gaza, which sparked protests in Turkey and around the world. 

Erdogan immediately attributed the strike to Israel, though it is not clear what happened. The British, French and American governments have since stated that their intelligence agencies believe it was caused by an outgoing rocket fired by Islamic Jihad into Israel, which malfunctioned and fell to the ground.  

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The leader of Turkey's AK party plans to attend a protest "in support of Palestine" in Istanbul.

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