As Hamas looks to leave its long-standing offices in Damascus, where the Assad regime now teeters, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul is neither confirming nor denying reports that the group may relocate its offices to Turkey. According to Hurriyet Daily News:
Along with Qatar and Jordan, Turkey is also among would-be hosts with Turkish President Abdullah Gül neither denying nor confirming that his country would soon welcome Hamas on its soil as Turkey’s relations with its once-ally Israel hit historically low levels.
How will the Obama administration react should Turkey provide safe haven for Hamas? After all, a major reason why Syria remained for years on the State Sponsor of Terrorism list was because it sheltered and provided safe haven to terrorist groups. According to the State Department:
Syria has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since the list’s inception in 1979. Because of its continuing support and safe haven for terrorist organizations, Syria is subject to legislatively mandated penalties, including export sanctions and ineligibility to receive most forms of U.S. aid or to purchase U.S. military equipment.
The United States provides Turkey with counter-terrorism assistance. While it is true Turkey has suffered from terrorism, the United States should never provide assistance to any country which embraces an a la carte definition of terrorism in which it complains about terrorism waged against it, but excuses or encourages terrorism waged against others.
Turkey was once a valuable NATO ally, but increasingly it is becoming like Pakistan an ally in name only. The only question for American policymakers should be how much damage will occur before diplomats recognize what Turkey has become and stop praising what it once was.