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Erdoğan’s Islamist ally calls for support for Hamas at parliament press briefing

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The radical Islamist Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR), the political arm of Kurdish Hizbullah and an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, expressed support for Hamas in its conflict with Israel during a news conference held in parliament, Voice of America Turkish service reported.

Şahzade Demir, secretary-general of HÜDA-PAR, held a joint press briefing in parliament on Wednesday with Hamas’s Turkey representative, Musa Akkari, expressing open support for Hamas in its conflict with Israel.

Founded in 2012 on the ashes of the outlawed Kurdish Hizbullah, an extremist Sunni group that emerged in southeastern Turkey in 1985, HÜDA-PAR won three seats in the Turkish parliament in the May elections, thanks to its alliance with Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Addressing the Turkish government and the Islamic world, Demir called for clear support for the Palestinian resistance.

“This is not just a war between Israel and Hamas. … The Zionist occupation regime has declared war on the entire Muslim community and our sacred values. The Palestinian resistance is fighting for the dignity of the entire community,” Demir said.

He said a serious humanitarian tragedy has been unfolding in the blockaded Gaza for more than 16 years.

“In the last five days, the attacks carried out with the support of the United States by the Zionists have increased significantly. They are recklessly dropping bombs on the people in Gaza, without discriminating between women, children and the elderly. The Zionist regime has also cut off the water and electricity in Gaza. … These are clearly war crimes,” Demir added.

“Isn’t it time for Islamic countries to make a clear and open declaration of support of the Palestinian resistance?” he said.

Meanwhile, Demir also addressed the conflict in parliament on Thursday, calling for the revocation of citizenship for Jews who enlist in the Israeli defense forces, urging the government to completely sever diplomatic, political and trade ties with Israel and prevent the entry of Jews into Turkey.

On Saturday Hamas fighters carried out an unprecedented surprise attack on Israel, launching thousands of rockets from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza and crossing the border with hundreds of militants. The Islamist group killed 1,200 Israelis and abducted dozens, prompting Israel to retaliate by pounding Gaza.

Hours after the attack, Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said the country was at war. The Israeli military said it had called up an unprecedented 300,000 reservists and was imposing a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, signs it could be planning a ground assault there to defeat Hamas.

The conflict comes at a time when Turkey, which has supported the Palestinians in the past, hosted members of Hamas and backed a two-state solution to the conflict, is trying to improve relations with Israel after years of animosity.

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