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Tipsheet

Erdogan Comes to Hamas' Defense, Says Turkey Has Been Helping Treat Terrorists in Hospitals

Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan revealed Monday that his country is caring for more than 1,000 Hamas members who are being treated in hospitals across the country.

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The president of Turkey, a NATO country, was responding to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis referring to Hamas as a “terrorist organization" when he made the admission. 

"If you call Hamas a 'terrorist organization,' this would sadden us," he said at a joint press with Kyriakos. "We don't deem Hamas a terrorist organization... More than 1,000 members of Hamas are under treatment in hospitals across our country." 

A Turkish official later said the Turkish leader “misspoke,” Reuters reports, noting Erdogan was actually referring to Gazans, “not Hamas members.” 

Reuters could not immediately determine the background of those being treated in Turkey, but in November Ankara said it was evacuating dozens of wounded or sick Gazans, mostly cancer patients, and their companions following Israel's offensive in Gaza. (Reuters)

"Erdogan’s admission that Turkey is treating 1,000 Hamas terrorists in Turkish hospitals and the revelation that Turkey is being considered as a base to launch terror attacks against Israel underscore Turkey’s embrace of international terrorism rather than its treaty obligations to its Western allies," commented Sinan Ciddi of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who also disagreed with the update from the "anonymous" Turkish official. 

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