Burak Bekdil: Turkey’s Love Affair with Hamas

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) gives a warm welcome to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who travelled from Gaza to Turkey on an official visit in January 2012. (Image source: MEMRI)

“The Palestinian cause” is a unique charm that brings together Turks from different ideologies. Turkish Islamists view it as an indispensable part of “jihad;” the conservatives feel attached to it because it has a religious connotation; for the leftists it is part of an “anti-imperialist” struggle; the nationalists embrace it just because most Turks embrace it. In the 1970s, when a dozen Turks a day on average were killed in street violence, the “Palestinian cause” was the only issue that otherwise warring fractions of the Turkish left, right and Islamists could agree on.

But it was the Islamists who, in the 2000s, made the biggest gains from the concept. Since 2002, when they came to power, they have reaped enormous political gains from the “Palestine-fetish,” to which they also love to be ideologically attached. For the Turks, it has been like abusing alcohol and wanting to have a healthier life. It still is…

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