Turkish media has reported that Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal was the most popular foreign guest at the ruling AKP Party’s annual convention in Ankara yesterday. According to the report, ” slogans such as ‘Damn Israel’ echoed around the convention hall”:
Wednesday,October 3 2012, ANKARA – Among the many high-profile leaders from around the world, Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas movement, was by far the most popular foreign guest for the thousands of supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who gathered for the party’s convention in Ankara yesterday. In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an introduced all foreign dignitaries attending the convention one by one. The biggest applause from the AKP supporters present came for Meshaal, prompting him to stand up and greet the audience. Slogans While Meshaal was greeting the audience, slogans such as “Damn Israel” echoed around the convention hall. Erdo?an’s opening remarks included greetings for many – from the rebels in Syria to the legendary Turkish folk singer and poet Ne?et Erta? who lost his life last week. The audience responded with applause when the prime minister said: “I wholeheartedly greet all of the heroes of Syria.” Erdo?an’s quotations, taken from Turkish poets of all ideological camps, were seen as a means of giving a message of unity. As the guests were being introduced the word “Kurdistan” was omitted when the president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Massoud Barzani was announced. The extravagant design of the convention hall and the messages delivered by the posters were aimed at emphasizing Erdo?an’s capacity as a global leader. “Great nation, great power, target 2023,” was the slogan of the congress, reflecting Erdo?an and his ruling AKP’s aspirations to still be in power on the centennial anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic. A world map was on display behind the rostrum, as well as the flag of Turkey and various party flags in different colors. The AKP was founded in August 2001 and it first came to power in the November 2002 elections, securing over two-thirds of the parliamentary seats. In early general elections in July 2007 the ruling party increased its support to 47 percent, while in the general elections of June 12, 2011 the party boosted its popular vote to 49.9 percent, claiming 327 parliamentary seats to form a third consecutive majority government. Yesterday, tens of thousands of those AKP supporters from the 81 provinces of the country flocked to the capital city in order to follow the convention. Most of them had to stay outside, as the 10,000-person capacity hall was unable to meet the demand. “We have dreams, we have love,” “Turkey’s party, Turkey’s leader,” “Everything is for Turkey, this light will not fade,” and “We are Turkey together,” read some of the banners on display.
A post from earlier this week reported that Meshaal has decided to step down from his position and provided information on his background in the Muslim Brotherhood.
A post from January reported on Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s visit to Turkey for meetings with the Turkish Prime Minister during which he expressed his “gratitude to the Turkish people for their support for Palestine. ” The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) has published a report titled “Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla” whose abstract states:
There is strong evidence for Turkish governmental involvement in the Gaza flotilla incident, with Turkish government support channeled through the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood. The IHH was not acting alone but rather was an integral part of a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network.
With respect to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, report’s second conclusion states:
The Gaza flotilla incident brought into sharp focus an even more significant long- term development: the growing relationship between the Erdogan government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood, which has given rise to some of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups – from al-Qaeda to Hamas. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity.
The Hamas charter states that it is ” is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and an early media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations . In 2007, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and in 2008, an Israeli TV station reported that Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” had traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. Hamas is supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood and a NEFA Foundation report has documented the Hamas fund-raising activities of the Union of Good, a coalition of Islamic charities linked to the Brotherhood that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. Previous posts have also discussed the worldwide campaign orchestrated by the global Brotherhood against Israeli actions in Gaza during the 2008-2009 conflict with Israel.