Tuesday, December 22, 2015

22-Dec-15: Has a Hamas terror insider just been thrown out of Turkey?

Al-Arouri addresses a global gathering of Islamic scholars in Istanbul's
Cevahir Hotel, August 20, 2014, and claims credit on behalf of Hamas
for the abduction and murder of three Israeli boys in Gush Etzion
some weeks earlier [Screen shot]
If the name Saleh Mohammad Suleiman Al-‘Arouri is not familiar to you, it should be.

Saleh Al-Arouri is in the news this evening because, according to reports published today, the senior terrorist, Hamas politbureau member and Islamist preacher has just been expelled from Turkey. News reports today say this is in accordance with an Israeli request in the context of the re-normalization of relations between the two countries. But there are differing versions of what has just happened.

According to the Ynet version today,
Israel established al-Arouri's expulsion from the country as a condition for achieving full reconciliation between Ankara and Jerusalem. Al-Arouri's "voluntary" departure was agreed upon during the meeting between Hamas' political chief, Khaled Mashal and Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu last Saturday. Nevertheless, Erdogan clarified to close associates that he had no intention of closing Hamas' offices in Turkey and would not stop his financial and moral support of Hamas, as Israel requested...  It was also agreed upon that al-Arouri would be expelled from Turkey and that talks about laying a gas pipeline between Israel and Turkey would soon begin. [Hamas leader expelled from Turkey | Ynet, December 22, 2015]
One of the founders of Hamas, Al-Arouri is a veteran of Israel's prison system where he spent 15 (some say 18) years. On release in 2007, he was expelled to Syria. Hamas' offices in Syria were shut down in 2012, at which point he and several terrorist colleagues were welcomed to Turkey. We have had occasion to write several times about the savagery over which he presided from there:
On August 20, 2014, speaking from the principal dais at a gathering in Istanbul of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Al-Arouri publicly confessed that Hamas was behind the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenage boys some weeks earlier, an act of terror that ignited passions right across the spectrum of Israeli public opinion. (The global association of "scholars" has its own YouTube channel. His speech, in Arabic with English-language subtitles, is online.)

It seems Turkey's decision to separate itself from Al-Arouri is not intended for full disclosure, if Ynet's sources are right:

Turkish media were asked Monday to not publish the reason for al-Arouri's expulsion from the country. Newspaper editors were told that the official reason given would be that he left of his "own free will"... [Ynet]
The same sources say the terrorist is likely to take up residence in Qatar where several of his Hamas colleagues are luxuriously ensconced already, or - which seems less likely - in Lebanon.

The Jerusalem Post offers a different take. Quoting Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a London-based newspaper, it says today that Al-Arouri left Turkey several months ago "so as not to embarrass Turkey, which was facing big pressure from Israel and the US Administration”, and is now "shuttling between Qatar and Lebanon... The source also denied that Turkey had banned Al-Arouri from entering the country".

In Turkey, credible reports have been circulating for months that Al-Arouri had already moved elsewhere. Hurriyet Daily News, in an August 12, 2015 report headlined "Hamas leader Arouri not in Turkey" quoted officials from that country's foreign ministry saying not only that he was no longer a resident of Turkey but never had been. The same report quotes Israel's Channel 10 News saying in early August pretty much what Ynet and the Jerusalem Post have reported as news today - that
Turkey had bowed to pressure by the United States and ordered al-Arouri, who Israel has accused of organizing terrorist attacks in the West Bank, to leave the country... [HurriyetAugust 12, 2015]
Why did Turkey agree? Because, according to the August 2015 report, that was one of the Western prerequisites for Turkey’s entry into the coalition of forces fighting ISIS. (Personally, we're not persuaded.)

A respected Turkish newspaper, Today's Zaman, tells things over a little differently, asserting that
Turkey and Israel have agreed that Salah al-Arouri, a senior leader of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, who has been living in Turkey will not be allowed to operate from there...  The AK Party's recent change of heart towards the Israelis came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signaled when returning from a trip to Turkmenistan earlier in December that the region would benefit from Turkey and Israel's rapprochement... ["Turkey says talks to mend ties with Israel positive, no change in preconditions", Today's Zaman, December 22, 2015]
Whatever the fine details, if the Islamist savage is now involuntarily on the move and no longer able to call Turkey home, we can hope something good might yet come of it.

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