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Turkey replaces Iran as primary funding source for Hamas

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TEL AVIV — Israel’s intelligence community has determined that Turkey became the lead financier of Hamas.

Israeli sources said Turkey replaced Iran as the leading financial backer of Hamas since 2012.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, right, with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.  /AP

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, right, with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. /AP

The sources said the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has overseen the transfer of up to $250 million a year to Hamas, particularly the Islamic regime in the Gaza Strip.

“The money is channeled mostly through private sources, but with full
coordination with Erdogan and his aides,” a source said.

The sources said Turkey has coordinated the cash transfers with another ally of Hamas. They said Erdogan was working with Qatar, which has been hosting the Hamas leadership since its expulsion from Syria in late 2011.

Turkey has been deemed the only NATO member to recognize Hamas. The
sources said Ankara has hosted a Hamas presence, led by Salah Al Arouri,
that facilitates operations and cash transfers, mostly to the West Bank.

In 2012, Qatar pledged $400 million to the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. But the sources said most of the money failed to arrive because of Doha’s crisis with the new military-backed regime in Cairo.

The sources said Israel has urged NATO members, particularly the United
States, to stop Turkish funding of Hamas. They said the Turkish support was
also undermining the Palestinian Authority, which directly controls about
half of the West Bank.

Turkey was also said to have provided training to Hamas security forces.
They said the Turkish training, provided by non-government elements aligned
with Erdogan, was touted as efforts to enhance order in the Gaza Strip.

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