Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip ErdoganReuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that Hamas is not a terror organization, but is rightfully defending its land.

"Hamas is not a terror organization," Erdogan said. "It is waging a battle for its land."

"I will not visit Israel as I had planned to - it has abused Turkey's good intentions."

In September, Ynet reported that Erdogan told 15 Jewish leaders in New York that he intended to visit Israel soon after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Turkey.

According to the report, the Turkish President told the Jewish leaders that he was very excited about the reconciliation with Israel.

"I have an open channel with President Herzog and now I also have an open channel with Netanyahu," he said.

Netanyahu was supposed to visit Turkey this past July and meet with Erdogan, but canceled the visit after undergoing a procedure to implant a pacemaker.

Israel and Turkey formally announced last year that they would normalize relations by returning the ambassadors and consuls, after years of tensions.

In December, Israel's Ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, presented her credentials to Erdogan. In March, the new Turkish Ambassador to Israel, Şakir Özkan Torunlar, presented his credentials to President Herzog.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: "Israel wholeheartedly rejects the Turkish President’s harsh words about the terrorist organization Hamas. Hamas is a despicable terrorist organization worse than ISIS that brutally and intentionally murders babies, children, women and the elderly, takes civilians hostage and uses its own people as human shields. Even the Turkish president's attempt to defend the terrorist organization and his inciting words will not change the horrors that the whole world has seen and the unequivocal fact: Hamas = ISIS."