The Turkish government denounced the Trump administration’s blacklisting of a senior Hamas terrorist in the Gaza Strip this week, warning that the move could “undermine” the peace process and interfere with Turkish activities in Gaza.
Earlier this week, the US State Department and Treasury Department placed Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on their terror watch lists – effectively sanctioning the Hamas leader by freezing his assets and barring US citizens or companies operating in the US from doing business with him. The Hamas organization has been on America’s terror blacklist since 1997.
Haniyeh replaced the exiled former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in May of 2017.
On Thursday, the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah faction blasted the Trump administration’s decision to sanction Haniyeh, and called for “national unity” between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Gaza-based Hamas terror group.
In a post on the Fatah party’s official Facebook page, Erekat “rejected and denounced” the US for its decision to sanction the Hamas leader, and called for “the achievement of national unity in order to preserve the Palestinian National project”.
“The Palestine Liberation Organization rejects and denounces the decision of the United states Treasury Department to include Ismail Haniyeh on the terror blacklist,” the post reads.
“Saeb Erekat, Secretary of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) rejected and denounced the decision of the United States Treasury Department to include the Hamas chief… and called for the removal of the causes of division and the achievement of national unity in order to preserve the Palestinian National project and to address the schemes aimed at liquidating the project.”
On Friday, Turkey issued its own denunciation of the sanctions against Haniyeh.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the move “disregards the realities on the ground” and could impair the resumption of peace talks.
"We are concerned that this decision of the US administration, which disregards the realities on the ground, could undermine the Middle East peace process, including the efforts for intra-Palestinian peace and reconciliation," said Aksoy.
"We also hope that the decision will not have a negative impact on our country's humanitarian assistance and economic development activities towards Gaza."
Hamas, Askoy continued, is "an important reality of Palestinian political life".
Turkey objected vociferously to President Donald Trump’s December 6th declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, vowing in response to open an “embassy to Palestine” in Jerusalem.