May 14, 2024 | Flash Brief

Secret Document Discovered in Gaza Reveals Hamas Plan to Establish Base in Turkey

May 14, 2024 | Flash Brief

Secret Document Discovered in Gaza Reveals Hamas Plan to Establish Base in Turkey

Latest Developments

A secret Hamas document discovered by Israeli military personnel in Gaza revealed that the terrorist group planned to establish a base in Turkey, London-based news outlet The Times reported on May 14. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reportedly unearthed the document at the home of Hamza Abu Shanab, chief of staff to Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza and the mastermind of Hamas’s October 7 assault on southern Israel.

Titled “Founding a base in Turkey,” the document provided details of the proposed funding and staffing of Hamas’s Turkish branch within the wider framework of a three-year plan to create “military cells and safe houses in many countries” that would carry out assassinations, kidnappings, and other acts of terrorism. The Times reported that it remained “unclear whether the plan was enacted before Hamas launched its attack on October 7 … or if cells have been established in Turkey.”

The revelations came as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that more than 1,000 Hamas terrorists were receiving medical treatment in Turkish hospitals.

Expert Analysis

“Turkey has provided material support and safe harbor to Hamas since at least 2011. Erdogan saw October 7 as an opportunity to publicly elevate Ankara’s relationship with the terrorist entity. 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.” — Sinan Ciddi, FDD Non-Resident Senior Fellow

“The urgency of Hamas’s pivot to Turkey has now increased due to the IDF’s success on the battlefield. That success also appears to have prompted Ankara to take in wounded Hamas fighters. The question now is how they were moved from Gaza to Turkey. Logic dictates that they escaped via Egypt.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

Hamas Members Receive Treatment in Turkish Hospitals

At a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on May 13, Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s view that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. “More than 1,000 members of Hamas are under treatment in hospitals across our country,” Erdogan said. Erdogan’s comments were in sharp contrast to those of Mitsotakis, who stated that “Israel has every right to defend itself against a bloody, provocative seizure of its territory by terrorists.” During the October 7 attack, “innocents got killed, kidnapped and tortured by a terrorist organization that doesn’t represent Palestinians,” Mitsotakis continued. Erdogan then told his Greek visitor, “I cannot agree with your approach, this would be unfair,” drawing the response: “Let us agree to disagree.”

A spokesperson for the Turkish government later attempted to walk back Erdogan’s claim that Hamas terrorists were receiving medical treatment in Turkey, saying that the Turkish leader “misspoke, he meant 1,000 Gazans are under treatment, not Hamas members.”

Turkey Joins South Africa in ICJ Case Against Israel

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan confirmed on May 14 that Turkey will join South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging that Israel has committed “genocidal” acts in Gaza. “Israel systematically killing thousands of innocent Palestinians and rendering a whole residential area uninhabitable is a crime against humanity, attempted genocide, and the manifestation of genocide,” Fidan said. A representative of the foreign ministry subsequently told Reuters that Ankara had not yet submitted the formal application to the ICJ.

Turkey Announces Trade Ban Against Israel

Last month, Turkey announced that it would ban the export of 54 categories of products to Israel until Jerusalem declares a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The export restrictions include iron, marble, steel, cement, aluminum, brick, fertilizer, construction equipment, and aviation fuel. Ankara claimed that it put the ban in place after Israel rejected a request to allow Turkish military planes to participate in aid airdrops in Gaza.

“Turkey Suspends Trade With Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Turkey Poised to Join South Africa’s Genocide Lawsuit Against Israel at ICJ,” FDD Flash Brief

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

Issues:

International Organizations Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics Turkey