In 2011, Israel released a large number of captured terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier being held hostage by Hamas. Around the same time, Hamas closed its offices in Syria due to tensions with the regime in Damascus. Turkey thus became an increasingly important base of operations for the terrorist group, as Nadav Shragai explains:
Besides hosting Hamas offices and senior officials who planned terror attacks, Turkey has also become a safe haven for Hamas’s financial affairs, including the funding of terror organizations in the West Bank. In a report published by the U.S. Treasury Department on September 10, 2019, the United States announced that it had “designated fifteen leaders, individuals, and entities affiliated with terror groups.” . . . The report revealed that Hamas operatives and collaborators in Turkey engage in fundraising, transferring money to the military wing in Gaza, funding terror organizations in the West Bank, and running money-changing and fund-transferring companies in Turkey through which terror funds are laundered.
The information published by the Treasury Department shows that the main source of financial support to Hamas via Turkey (and sometimes via Lebanon) is Iran.
After a half-decade of ups and downs in Israel-Turkey relations, a further attempt at reconciliation is now on the agenda. This time the initiative comes from the Turkish side. According to assessments, Turkey is trying to break out of the international isolation that has befallen it, improve its standing with the Biden administration, and ameliorate the difficult economic situation within Turkey.
Turkey’s courtship of Israel in an attempt to repair relations gives Israel a golden opportunity to act effectively against Turkey-Hamas collaboration.