Turkey needs to convince Hamas to stop attacks on Israel, says Peres
Cansu Çamlıbel – TEL AVIV
HÜRRİYET photo / Sebati KarakurtTurkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan need to convince Hamas not to attack Israel to help the people suffering in the Gaza Strip, according to former Israeli President Shimon Peres.
“We do not want anybody doing harm to the Gazans, including Hamas,” Peres told Hürriyet daily on June 3.
“If Erdoğan wants to help, fine. But if he really wants to help, he has to convince Hamas to stop shooting. This is compromised because Hamas still arms itself. You cannot separate these things if you want peace. You can send aid but in a way that won’t harm our security. That is the minimum,” Peres said.
Peres said Turkey and Israel were both suffering from terrorism.
“We would not like to see anybody harm Turkey,” he said, adding that the recent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack that killed at least 45 at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport was “terrible.”
“We are fighting Daesh as well,” Peres said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.
“We are fighting Hamas. We are fighting Hezbollah. All those people who shoot forget that they are being shot because they have been shooting. I think Turkey has to fight terror in Turkey and we on our side. Turkey has to also fight terror elsewhere because terror is dangerous to every human being. There is no religion in the world that calls for the cutting of the heads of innocent people,” he said.
The reconciliation period between Israel and Turkey took time because “Hamas continued to fire and kill,” according to Peres.
“I understand that Turkey wants to help Hamas. But if you want to help Hamas, you must help us as well so there won’t be shooting. Now the solution is that the ships will come through Ashdod,” he said. “Then why did they [the organizers of the 2010 Mavi Marmara aid flotilla] insist on the other way? We have nothing against Turkey helping Gaza. But if you want to help Gaza, you must tell Hamas to stop shooting. If they would not shoot, it would directly go to Gaza.”
Peres said getting over the past incidents and focusing on reconciliation was the right thing to do.
“The past is dead and you cannot change it,” the former Israeli president added.
“Forget it! But you have all the time to look into the future and for your children. There is no reason why Turkey, which has a long culture, a long history and Israel – also with a long culture and history – should not live in peace. What is the alternative? People going through this detail, that detail. The two parties had to take some steps and it was not easy and it was complicated for them,” Peres said.
Addressing the Turkish people, Peres said Israel “would like to see Gaza as a happy place.”
“We do not want to see people in Gaza suffering or poor,” he added.
“We wish them a happy life, we have nothing against them. That is the reason why we left Gaza willingly. We said ‘OK, you can be free.’ Peace doesn’t start with a happy end; peace starts with an unhappy beginning. Peace does not start between friends. It starts between enemies. Looking at it in a historic view, it was the right time, the right agreement. I believe it will bear fruits for the Turkish people and Israelis,” he said.
When asked if Turkey could still play a role for peace between Palestine and Israel, Peres said he “never in my life did I give up the hope for peace.”
“And I know that we have had to make peace with enemies,” he added. “We live in peace with Egypt and Jordan. Why not with Palestinians? Unfortunately they are split. I believe on the Palestinian side as well the desire for peace will win. To be for peace is not just the position of Turkey but it is a human position. We must have principles and morality. Otherwise the world is in danger.”