GKHAN – Hamas’ Turkey dilemma

Hamas’ Turkey dilemmaLast Saturday, Turkeyand#39s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) held its Konya party-caucus meeting. A provincial party-caucus venue, where political parties re-elect their provincial leader and cadres, is routine in Turkish politics.

Usually, party leaders participate in order to give out political messages. For instance, Ahmet DavutoIlu, the countryand#39s prime minister and the leader of the AKP, was there this time.

However, the presence of Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas, was surprising. To be frank, the AKPand#39s Konya party caucuses are not events of first-caliber importance, even by Turkeyand#39s standards.

So one wonders how Mashaal came to be part of a small-time regional political affair in Turkey.First of all, it is widely claimed that the Palestinian cause is the general cause of the Muslim ummah (community).

Still, Mashaal showing up at a party congress is seriously problematic. Having done this, Mashaal has alienated a portion of the Turkish public.

It simply does not seem fitting to speak at a party congress when you claim to be representing a universal cause. Second, what Mashaal is doing may have negative long-term outcomes.

Other political parties in Turkey may see Hamasand#39 affiliation with the AKP as unacceptable.Secondly, Mashaal having done what he did might be a reflection of the desperate situation of his political agenda Hamas is now facing a serious risk in the changing regional environment.

There are reliable reports that even Qatar is becoming more critical of Hamas. And Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is rejuvenating his bonds with global powers such as Russia and China All these changes limit Hamasand#39 leverage, both globally and regionally.

Thus, Hamas may be thinking that Turkey is of most consequence to it. In other words, though aware of the inner inconsistency of this behavior, the Hamas leadership may have come to think that backing its allies in Turkey — namely, the AKP government — is the only political gesture presently available to Hamas.

On the other hand, the Hamas tradition is famous for its alliance formation. Thus, it might not be very sound to argue that Mashaal is not aware of the factors I have mentioned in this article.

And this brings up another question: Is Turkey forcing Hamas to act like this? Turkey being its last partner, is Hamas bending to pressure in order to avoid losing Turkey?Frankly, we do not have proof of this. However, it is no secret that some politicians in Turkey will not refrain from abusing both the Palestinian cause and Hamas if it serves their political interests.

If this is what is happening, then it is bad for Hamas, for it may be sacrificed for cheap political gains.Meanwhile, Qatar is putting out contradictory signals about its regional position.

If Qatar accepts reconciliation with Sisiand#39s Egypt, it may create a new environment for both Turkey and Hamas. Having analyzed recent developments in the region, it seems to me that Turkey is about to lose all its partners except for Hamas.

But, will a Turkey-Hamas axis be able to change anything? Certainly not. More dramatic is the Western approval of Sisiand#39s rapprochement with andquotrival powers,andquot such as China and Russia Though I appreciate its moral stance, Turkey is likely to be the winner of a competition among states in the field of andldquomisunderstanding the Arab Spring.

andquotThen we may ask: Is Hamas accepting involvement in Turkish party politics by consent, or is this due to various necessities? But, in any case, what Mashal is doing is likely to weaken the sociological basis of the Palestinian issue in Turkey. The AKP is the ruling party, but it does not represent all Turks.

Therefore, Mashaal is now alienating a serious portion of Turks from the Palestinian cause.Yet, this may all be no more than typical reflections of Islamism Islamism has never had a bent for public-policy thinking.

Its priority has always been its andldquofriendsandrdquo and andldquoenemies.andrdquo With this perspective, it is even normal to see Hamas leaders participating in an AKP congress.

SOURCE: The East African