Back in December IMEMC reported:
Turkish sources reported that Prime Minister of Turkey, Receb Tayyip Erdogan, sent a confidential letter to Ismail Haniyya, Prime Minister of the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip, inviting him to visit Turkey, and informing him that he has decided to grant Haniyya’s government $300 Million.
Jonathan Schanzer wrote shortly thereafter:
…this pledge would cover nearly half of Hamas’s reported $769 million budget next year, and would make Turkey its primary benefactor.
Hamas and Turkish officials deny the report, and Hamas probably won’t submit to an external audit any time soon. But let there be no doubt: Hamas is for sale, thanks to the Iranian nuclear program and the Arab Spring.
….With Iran stepping back, could Turkey step in? From publicly clashing with Israeli president Shimon Peres over Israel’s Hamas policy at Davos in 2009 to sponsoring the ill-fated flotilla that attempted to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza in 2010, Erdogan has become a champion of the Hamas cause.
In recent years, the Turkish government has provided nominal assistance to Hamas in Gaza through a series of charities. Hamas reportedly now operates on Turkish soil, meaning Ankara is already a patron. And Hamas recently announced that leader Ismail Haniyeh plans to visit Turkey soon.
Now, more confirmation of that IMEMC report has arrived. A diplomat was quoted by Reuters today.
“Iran used to give $250 million to $300 million to Hamas but there have been interruptions in the payments in past year. Our understanding is that there has been no payment since August 2011,” he said.
Hamas Gaza Strip leader Ismail Haniyeh was thought to have “received promises from Turkey to provide the movement and his administration with $300 million a year to help Gaza”.
The Yediot Ahranot article does not appear to be online currently. If it becomes available I will link to it. If anyone has a hard copy and would like to email it, please do.
Lastly, Shimon Peres in an interview with CNN at Davos said that Hamas was being funded by Turkey.
Update: Turkey has denied the reports.
Officials from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry approached by Today’s Zaman on Sunday denied allegations that Turkey is offering millions of dollars to Hamas, saying that news featuring these allegations was made up and did not reflect the truth.
“There is no cash aid to Hamas, but Turkey is, of course, engaged in projects to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza,” officials said and added, “A $40 million hospital project is one of them, but the construction material for the hospital is not allowed into Gaza.” Turkey frequently complains about an Israeli blockade of Gaza that Israel says is needed to block weapons from reaching Hamas, which Israel considers its archenemy, but which in reality chokes the Gazan economy and keeps Gazans underserved and underdeveloped.
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