Is Turkey Halting Hamas Activity Within its Borders?

Reports have surfaced Monday that Turkey will halt all forms of anti-Israel activity in its borders as part of a bid to re-normalize relations with the Jewish state. 

According to Palestine News Network, this means Turkey will "repress" all terror activity committed by Hamas members living in Turkey, against Israel. 

Israeli radio station Reshet Bet, however, reported quotes from a Turkish official denying the country plans to restrict the actions of Hamas terrorists within its border. 

Yassin Atkay, adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, told a Hamas newspaper that Ankara and the Turkish people both love and respect the terrorist organization. 

The rumors come amid Israeli reports that Turkey plans to expel Saleh al-Arouri – one of the many senior Hamas terrorists who has moved or been deported to Turkey in recent years. 

Al-Arouri, one of the 1,027 terrorists released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap in 2011, was ordered by Ankara in June to cut back on his terror activity, for fear Washington would accuse Turkey of "abetting terror."

From his base in Turkey, al-Arouri commands Hamas' division in Judea-Samaria and has plotted dozens of terror attacks there, including the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens last June. 

Tensions have been high between Israel and Turkey since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, but the freeze appears to be melting, particularly in light of reported negotiations to end Israel's blockade of Gaza. 

Israel, however, has adamantly denied reports of talks for a long-term ceasefire agreement with Hamas. 

"Israel would like to officially clarify that it is not holding any meetings with Hamas, neither directly, nor via other countries, nor via intermediaries. As for relations with Turkey, agreement is still far off," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Office said Monday.


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