The visit was criticised by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad for reasons explained by the ITIC:
“Hamas’ response was motivated principally by its many interests in Turkey and the fear, which was not publicly stated, that through ties between Israel and Turkey Hamas could lose its assets. It could also lose the freedom of action its operatives have enjoyed for the past decade, especially since they were exiled to Turkey after the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, turning it into one of Hamas’ main overseas bases for operations. In recent years Hamas terrorist operatives have lived in Turkey from which they direct terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria. The country also serves as a base for transferring funds to terrorist operatives in Judea and Samaria and to Hamas headquarters in the Gaza Strip.”
“Israel Police and the Shin Bet announced on Friday that it had uncovered a Hamas operation which had been taking place in recent years in Jerusalem.
In February, three family members from the Sur Baher neighborhood of east Jerusalem were arrested immediately after they landed in Israel on suspicion of being involved in crimes connected to a terrorist organization. The investigation found that an association they worked at called “Lajnat Zakat al-Quds” was being used as a platform to transfer money and support to families of terrorists, while claiming to be an association for supporting orphans.
The suspects are Khaled Sabah, and his two sons Munib and Musa’ab. […]
Khaled Sabah was appointed as head of Hamas in Jerusalem while meeting with Hamas officials Khaled Atoun and Musa Akari in Turkey. The two Hamas officials were released from Israeli prisons as part of the deal to release captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Sabah was also tasked with recruiting new operatives for Hamas, collecting more funds and additional operations. Sabah also discussed operations planned for the upcoming month of Ramadan with the two Hamas officials, including large clashes with security forces.”
“Two Israeli-Arab citizens from Western Galilee have been indicted on suspicion that they were recruited by Hezbollah to carry out terror attacks in the country for the Iranian-backed terror group.
The two men, 55-year-old Sultan Atallah from the Druze village of Yarka and 33-year-old Rami Shami from the village of Jadida were arrested in a joint operation of the Shin Bet internal security agency, Israel Police and IDF in February.
The two men met with two Lebanese citizens known to be weapons and drug smugglers, Hussein Sheet and Akram Sheet, from the south Lebanon village of Kfar Kila in Turkey between November 20-23. According to the Shin Bet, during the meeting, Hussein Sheet asked them to smuggle weapons into Israel and to bury them in areas where other individuals recruited by Hezbollah would later take them.
In addition, the two were also asked to lay the groundwork for terror attacks including kidnappings in Israel. They were said to have been promised a large sum of money if they could abduct Israeli citizens or provide information on suitable targets.
They were also asked to locate sensitive sites within the State of Israel for Hezbollah to strike during war.”
It therefore comes as no surprise to see that – despite extensive coverage in Hebrew and English language Israeli media – two stories concerning terrorist organisations using Turkey as a venue to meet members and recruits have to date not been considered newsworthy by the BBC Jerusalem bureau.