An Israeli diplomat in Turkey confirmed on Wednesday that Turkey is granting citizenship to twelve members of Hamas.
“Some are in the process, some already got (the documents), but we are talking about around a dozen,” says Roey Gilad, chargé d’affaires at Israel’s Embassy in Turkey, according to a Reuters report.
Gilad added that Israel has evidence of the reports. “We have already one document that we will present to the government in copy,” he says. “Judging by the last experience we had by presenting a well-based portfolio to the government… and getting no reply, I must say I don’t have high hopes that something will be done this time.”
Gilad emphasized that the Hamas members gaining Turkish citizenship are actively involved in financing and planning terror operations, adding that despite Israel informing Turkey last year that Hamas was involved in terror operations in Istanbul, Turkey continues its ties with the terror organization’s members.
Turkey claims that Hamas is a legitimate democratically elected political movement although the terror organization seized power from PA forces in the Gaza Strip in 2007, ruling it with an iron fist since then.
Many of the Hamas members in Turkey took up residence there as part of a deal between Turkey and Israel during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal in 2011, which released 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with a delegation of Hamas leaders in Istanbul on Saturday, including a wanted US terrorist with a $5 million bounty on his head.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)