Erdogan says Hamas not terrorists but ‘mujahideen defending their lands’, cancels Israel trip

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TEL AVIV: Amid Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has termed the terror group as ‘mujahideen’ defending their lands, as he announced the cancellation of his visit to Israel.

While addressing a conference of his AK party faction in parliament, the Turkish President said that Israel “can view Hamas as a terrorist organisation along with the West. The West owes you a lot. But Turkey does not owe you anything”, The Times of Israel reported.

Speaking out against Israel, Erdogan also stated that he is cancelling plans to visit Israel because of its “inhumane” war. “Hamas is not a terrorist organisation, it is a group of mujahideen defending their lands”, he said, according to The Times of Israel. “We had a project to go to Israel, but it was canceled, we will not go”, Erdogan added.

Meanwhile, the foreign minister of Turkey, Hakan Fidan, has said that Israel committed “a crime against humanity” in its war in Gaza while speaking in Qatar, The Times of Israel reported. “Targeting our Palestinian brothers, including children, patients and the elderly, even in schools, hospitals and mosques, is a crime against humanity”, he said.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) on Wednesday showed a purported note from one of the members of the Hamas which has the message for the terror group to “sharpen the blades” for their enemies who are “incurable disease”. “You must sharpen the blades of your swords and be pure in your intentions before Allah. Know that the enemy is a disease that has no cure, except beheading and tearing out their hearts and livers”, the purported note of Hamas read.

The IDF shared the note on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) and said that terror group Hamas is “very clear” about its intentions. “This note was found on a Hamas terrorist from the October 7 massacre. It was handed to him by Hamas commanders in Gaza as an encouragement to behead their victims and tear out their hearts and livers. Hamas is very clear about its intentions”, IDF posted on X.

Earlier in the day, Israel announced that it will deny visas to UN officials after remarks by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that questioned Israeli actions in Gaza stating that the October 7 attacks “didn’t happen in a vacuum”, The Times of Israel reported.

“Due to his remarks, we will refuse to issue visas to UN representatives”, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan told Army Radio. “We have already refused a visa for Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths”, Erdan said. “The time has come to teach them a lesson.” Erdan had also called on Guterres to resign “immediately”, calling him “unfit” to lead the UN.

On Tuesday, during a Security Council meeting, the UN chief said, “It is important to also recognise the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum”, claiming that “the Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation”.

He added, “They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence, their economy stifled, their people displaced, and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing”.

Lambasting the UN chief after his remarks, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen stated, “Mr Secretary-General, in what world do you live?” He rebutted as he addressed the Security Council, “Definitely, this is not our world”. Following this, Cohen also cancelled a private meeting with Guterres, saying that there is “no place” for a “balanced approach”.

The October 7 attacks by Hamas killed at least 1,400 Israelis and wounded more than 4,500. The major offensive included the firing of thousands of rockets at Israel and the infiltration of the Jewish state by terrorist forces. (ANI)

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