January 24, 2024 | Flash Brief

Turkish and Iranian Presidents Meet and Condemn Israel

January 24, 2024 | Flash Brief

Turkish and Iranian Presidents Meet and Condemn Israel

Latest Developments

The presidents of Iran and Turkey condemned Israel’s actions against Hamas during a January 24 meeting in Ankara. In a news conference after his conversation with Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israeli policy “inhumane” and said the two leaders agreed to “refrain from steps that will further threaten the security and stability of our region.” The meeting shows a growing rapport between the NATO member nation and the leader of the Axis of Resistance — an anti-Western coalition of terrorist actors, including Hamas, Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthis, and Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria, that Tehran arms and supports. The long-planned visit follows a January 21 meeting in Turkey between Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and Hamas’s political chief Ismail Haniyeh.

Expert Analysis

“The terror ties between the governments of Turkey and Iran are deep. Both governments harbor Hamas terrorists and support the group financially. Turkey also helped facilitate a $20 billion sanctions evasion scheme from 2012-2015. This collaboration is rooted in virulent Islamist ideology, which bridges the sectarian divide.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Ankara has been trying to insert itself into the Gaza conflict as a power broker to facilitate a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Its unwavering support for Hamas has ensured that Ankara is not taken seriously by Israel and the United States. By hosting Iran’s president, Turkey’s Erdogan wants to demonstrate to the West that it is a relevant power because it has a dialogue with Hamas and its patron, Iran. Ankara should be closely monitored in its dealings with Tehran, as Erdogan’s main goal is focused on undermining the security of Israel by allowing Hamas to flourish.” Sinan Ciddi, FDD Non-Resident Senior Fellow

Hate For Israel Ties Erdogan to Iran’s Regime

Turkey and Iran have often had a contentious relationship. For example, Iran has supported Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, while Turkey supported rebel groups fighting to oust Assad. Turkey still maintains forces in parts of Syria. Yet Ankara, under Erdogan’s leadership, has offered haven to leaders of Iran-backed terrorist groups. It gives Hamas financial and material support and provides citizenship to key Hamas leaders. Erdogan also openly met with Haniyeh many times, including in July and October of 2023.

Since Israel began operations to root out Hamas in Gaza after the terrorist group’s October 7 massacre, Erdogan has continued to ratchet up his rhetoric against Israel and its leaders. On December 27, Erdogan said in a speech that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was worse than Adolf Hitler and guilty of genocide. Erdogan also said that Israel’s war against Hamas is worse than the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews died. By contrast, Erdogan has called Hamas “mujahideen,” or freedom fighters.

10 Things to Know About Hamas and Turkey,” FDD Insight

Hamas Leaders Hold Secret Meeting in Turkey,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Should Boycott Turkey,” by Sinan Ciddi


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Turkey