An expose published yesterday in Foreign Policy by Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, outlines Turkish support for the Palestinian terror group Hamas which – among other things – has allowed Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri to operate out of Turkish territory.
Hamas’s domestic and regional position has been in free-fall and the group has boosted its terror activities in an effort to vault back into prominence. Arouri reportedly had already been given “sole control” of efforts to rebuild Hamas’s terror infrastructure in the West Bank, and so would be critical to planning and coordinating the uptick in violence.
According to reports cited by Schanzer – among them Arabic media sources – he would be doing so from Turkey. The result, Schanzer notes, is that Turkey very likely qualifies as a state sponsor of terrorism:
Turkey currently serves as the home for Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri, whom the Palestinian movement’s website identifies as the founder of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, in the West Bank… Arouri’s presence in Turkey raises the stakes in what the official calls a “dirty game” that Ankara is playing with the militant group. Just this year, Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank attempted to kidnap soldiers and civilians and even planned to bomb an outdoor shopping mall. As the head of the West Bank’s Qassam Brigades, Arouri may well have directed those attacks from Turkey…
If Arouri is behind the funding, recruiting, or planning of any of these Hamas operations in the West Bank, it will have grave consequences for Turkey. To the letter of the law, Turkey could meet criteria as a state sponsor of terrorism
Arouri was interviewed on film last year by Ahlam Tamimi, a Hamas terrorist convicted of being the driver for a suicide bomber who blew himself up inside a Jerusalem restaurant and killed 15 people. In the film he urged Palestinian groups to embrace “resistance” against Israel – a euphemism that Palestinian groups use for violence – and to conduct “abductions.”