While the deterioration in Israel-Turkey relations over the past decade is rooted in many factors, perhaps what exemplifies this deterioration most is the closeness forged between the Justice and Development Partyled government and Hamas. The Mavi Marmara incident of May 2010, which sparked the deep crisis in Israel-Turkey relations that has persisted since, should be seen against the backdrop of this relationship. Hence, understanding the dynamics underlying Turkey-Hamas relations and the strengths and weaknesses of this relationship is extremely important from an Israeli perspective.
Since the fall of Mohamed Morsi’s government in Egypt in July 2013 and the cooled relations between Hamas and Iran in context of the Syrian civil war, Turkey, joined by Qatar, has been heralded as a primary funder of Hamas. While there is some debate over the exact sums, it seems as though Turkey has at least pledged to provide Hamas between $250-300 million mannually.1 Still, the unity deal between Hamas and Fatah from April 2014,and the attempts by Hamas to lure back Iran2 have shown that Turkey and Qatar are not strong enough partners from the perspective of Hamas and cannot by themselves help Hamas grapple with the difficult conditions it faces. In order to assess the future prospects of Turkish-Hamas relations, the article first explores the developments in recent years in Turkey-Hamas relations and then analyzes what were the main causes that drove Turkey to strengthen its relations with Hamas.
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