Israel’s Ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, has stated that it is premature to discuss mediation offers between Israel and Hamas. Lillian emphasized that the recent attacks demonstrate that Hamas should not have a presence in Turkey or any other country. The conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis, with Israel declaring it as a war.
During an online briefing with journalists, Lillian highlighted that Israel’s priority is to respond to the attack. She stated, “Mediation comes at a different point in time. Right now, we are unfortunately counting the dead, trying to heal the wounded, and we don’t even know the number of citizens abducted.” Lillian emphasized the importance of bringing back all abducted individuals and restoring peace and calmness to Israel and the region before considering mediation.
The ongoing conflict coincides with Turkey’s efforts to repair its relationship with Israel after years of animosity. Turkey, which has previously supported Palestinians, hosted members of Hamas and advocated for a two-state solution. However, Ankara does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization.
Regarding the presence of Hamas members in Turkey, Lillian mentioned that Saleh Al-Arouri, a senior member of the Islamist group, has been seen at events in Turkey. She argued that Al-Arouri should be held accountable for crimes against humanity. Lillian emphasized that Hamas should not have any office or activity in Turkey or any other country, stating, “There is no place for terrorists to direct or command acts from any country in the world.”
The Turkish foreign ministry has not yet responded to inquiries about the presence of Hamas officials in Turkey. However, Turkish Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmus reiterated Turkey’s call for restraint while acknowledging the long-standing injustices faced by Palestinians, particularly at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, which he referred to as a “red line.”
Lillian expressed Israel’s expectation of more empathy from Turkey, a country that has experienced militant attacks for decades. However, she believes that constructive dialogue between the two countries in the aftermath of the conflict will shed light on the future of their reconciliation. Lillian stated that it is challenging to predict the impact on bilateral relations, but she hopes that the ongoing war against terrorism and yesterday’s attack will not hinder the warming process between Israel and Turkey.
In terms of security, Lillian mentioned that the Israeli embassy is in contact with Turkish authorities regarding threats, as well as calls for demonstrations and violence.
In conclusion, Israel’s Ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, has emphasized that it is too early to discuss mediation offers between Israel and Hamas. She believes that Hamas should not have a presence in Turkey or any other country. The ongoing conflict has strained the relationship between Turkey and Israel, but Lillian hopes that constructive dialogue in the future will help determine the fate of their reconciliation.