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Turkey 'Deports' Palestinian Activists

Turkey 'Deports' Palestinian Activists

Thursday, 28 April, 2022 - 07:15
Istanbul, Turkey (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Turkey has reportedly deported several Palestinian activists from the Hamas Movement and other Interpol-wanted persons for committing criminal acts, informed sources said on Thursday.

The sources, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, neither confirmed nor denied Israeli reports claiming the Turkish authorities' deported dozens of Hamas members during the past months, based on a list of names submitted by Tel Aviv.

The sources pointed out that the Turkish authorities arrested Palestinian national Omari Odeh in a security operation in Istanbul in March, days after the visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Turkey.

According to Turkish media, Odeh is wanted on an Interpol red notice for committing organized crimes between 2017 and 2019, including murder, attempted murder, money laundering, and fraud, among other accusations.

He was arrested in an apartment in the Sisli neighborhood in Istanbul and was later deported.

The Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom, reported that Turkey deported Hamas members at Israel's request in recent months.

A Palestinian source said that "dozens of people identified with Hamas in various circles have been deported [from Turkey]."

Several media outlets confirmed this report, saying some Hamas members who had traveled outside Turkey were not being allowed to return.

The Palestinian official said there was nothing "random" about the decision.

"Turkey asked them to leave, which actually happened in the last few months. Some of the people with ties to Hamas' military wing have been deported," he claimed.

The Israelis gave Turkey a list of Hamas members and information about the involvement of some of them in military activity.

"In response, the Turks contacted Hamas and told them, 'You promised you wouldn't do anything like that here, so now you need to leave,'" he said.

The official said that Turkey had told the Hamas leadership that "economic interests" were at play.

"The renewed ties between Turkey and Israel are supposedly diplomatic and political, but Hamas knows that Israel has influence over Turkey regarding security issues. A few Israeli security representatives have also visited Turkey."

While Ankara issued no official position or statement, media outlets opposed to the government highlighted the Israeli reports, saying Hamas has become a victim of normalization between the Turkish government and Israel.

Meanwhile, sources close to Hamas in Gaza told Asharq Al-Awsat that Turkey has already ordered the movement's activists to leave and prevented the return of others.

They reported that this has been going on for many weeks, adding that the policy has changed.

They added that Turkey informed the movement's officials months ago that their stay in the country depended on ending their activity against Israel.

The sources stressed that Ankara is tightening its measures against the movement, thanks to its rapprochement with Israel, which is an inconvenience for Hamas that still has a presence in Turkey.

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