Washington D.C. [US], August 26 (ANI): Objecting to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan hosting two Hamas leaders in Istanbul, US on Tuesday said (local time) Erdogan's continued outreach to this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community.
"The United States strongly objects to Turkish President Erdogan hosting two Hamas leaders in Istanbul on August 22. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU and both officials hosted by President Erdogan are Specially Designated Global Terrorists," US State Department said.
"The U.S. Rewards for Justice Program is seeking information about one of the individuals for his involvement in multiple terrorist attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings," it added.
The State Department said President Erdogan's continued outreach to this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community, harms the interests of the Palestinian people, and undercuts global efforts to prevent terrorist attacks launched from Gaza.
"We continue to raise our concerns about the Turkish government's relationship with Hamas at the highest levels. This is the second time President Erdogan has welcomed Hamas leadership to Turkey this year with the first meeting occurring February 1," the statement read.
Ties between the US and Turkey have been strained over several issues including Ankara's decision to purchase the Russian S-400 air defence system.
Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement for the supply of S-400 air defence systems in September 2017. This resulted in the US suspending deliveries of F-35 fighter jets to its NATO ally.
Washington refused to provide Turkey with the aircraft, claiming that the S-400 deal is incompatible with the alliance's military equipment and might compromise the operations of the new fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets. Ankara, however, refused to back down. (ANI)