Turkey has given passports to a dozen Hamas members in Istanbul, a senior Israeli diplomat said on Wednesday, describing the move as “a very unfriendly step” which his government would raise with Turkish officials.

Speaking days after Turkey’s president met visiting Hamas leaders, charge d’affaires Roey Gilad said Israel had already told Turkey last year that Hamas was carrying out “terror-related activity” in Istanbul, but Turkey had not taken action.

Jerusalem Post reports that Gilad said Israel had proof that Turkey was providing passports and identity cards to members of Hamas, the terror group that runs Gaza and is considered a terrorist organization by the UK, US, Israel and European Union.
“Some are in the process, some already got (the documents), but we are talking about around a dozen,” he said.

“We have already one document that we will present to the government in copy,” he said. “Judging by the last experience we had by presenting a well-based portfolio to the government… and getting no reply, I must say I don’t have high hopes that something will be done this time.”

Gilad said the Hamas members who received Turkish documents were financing and organizing terrorism from Istanbul, which Turkey has previously denied. Many of them came to Turkey under a 2011 deal between Turkey and Israel to exchange a captured Israeli soldier for more than 1,000 prisoners, Gilad said.

Gilad said the current tensions ruled out any cooperation on exploiting gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey is challenging maritime claims by Greece, Cyprus and their allies.

Even if ties with Turkey were to improve, Israel would not “throw away” strategic alliances it has built up with other nations over the last 10 years, Gilad said. “Israel is not going to throw under the bus Greece, Cyprus or Egypt.”

Related Articles:

Russian military shoots missiles at Israeli jets over Syria

For the first time, Russian forces based in Syria have fired S-300 missiles at Israeli jets as they flew over Syrian territory. Israel's jets were able to avoid danger, but...

Why was the IDF operating in Jenin this week?

You may have heard the mention of Jenin this week where Israeli forces have been conducting operations. This is the area that Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla was killed on...

Israeli counter-terrorism officer, father-of-six, killed in Jenin operation

A police commando who was seriously wounded during fierce exchanges of fire between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in the northern West Bank on Friday morning has died of his...

Two more Palestinians arrested after last week’s axe attack

Security forces arrested two more Palestinians for allegedly aiding the two suspects accused of a deadly terror attack in the central city of Elad last week, the military said...

Newly-elected Labour councillor receives “levels of antisemitism I’ve never had before”

A Jewish Labour candidate elected as a councillor in Camden has revealed she faced “levels of antisemitism I’ve never had before” in the run-up to Thursday’s local election.Police were...

16 Month Scripture Calendar