Skip to comments.Kerry Condemns ‘Cowardly Terrorists,’ But Hamas Gets a Pass
Posted on 04/08/2013 3:10:22 AM PDT by markomalley
Secretary of State John Kerry in Turkey Sunday condemned the cowardly terrorists who killed a young foreign service officer in Afghanistan and referred to Kurdish terrorism against Turkey, but when asked minutes later about Hamas the Palestinian terrorist group embraced by his Turkish hosts he chose to comment only indirectly.
The incident provided a fresh example of the Obama administrations reluctance to tackle Turkeys Islamist government in public over its support for Hamas, even as it partners with Ankara in its centerpiece counter-terror initiative (which excludes Israel).
During a joint press appearance in Istanbul with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, Kerry was asked by a Turkish journalist about Turkey playing a more active role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
I was wondering if theres any specific proposal for what Turkeys contribution could be, especially regarding maybe bringing Hamas in line with international expectations, the reporter asked. (Those expectations, as laid down by the so-called Mideast Quartet, include renunciation of terrorism.)
The same questioner also asked Kerry whether Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans plan to visit the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip soon was being seen as a looming crisis.
In his response, Kerry was silent on Erdogans upcoming visit to Gaza, and addressed the broader Hamas issue only indirectly, in the context of the Palestinian economy.
Now, obviously, its more complicated to deal with Gaza than the West Bank for all the obvious reasons, but Turkey can be very helpful, perhaps, in transitioning that component of the process, as well as in helping to build on our efforts to transform the economics of the West Bank itself, he said.
Minutes earlier, Kerry had spoken about the terrorism Turkey has faced at the hands of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whose violent 29-year campaign for establish Kurdish autonomy in southeast Turkey has cost the lives of almost 40,000 people, three-quarters of them PKK members. A Turkey-PKK peace initiative is currently underway.
Kerry also spoke passionately about Taliban terrorism in Afghanistan, delivering a tribute to foreign service officer Anne Smedinghoff, one of four Americans killed by a suicide bomber while delivering books to a school in the south of the country.
He described those responsible for the bombing which the Taliban styled a successful martyrdom attack as nihilistic and cowardly terrorists determined to bring darkness and death to total strangers.
Davutoglu, too, called the attack horrific and said Turkey shall always remain against terror, and we will always force the strongest ever possible solidarity in fighting against terrorism.
But the Turkish governments views on Palestinian terror are much more ambivalent, and Erdogan has on numerous occasions rejected the notion that Hamas is a terrorist group.
Hamas, which like the PKK is designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings, rocket assaults and other attacks since the interim Oslo peace accords were signed in 1993.
Furthermore, at least 15 Americans were killed between 1993 and 2002 in attacks for which Hamas claimed responsibility. Still others were killed in attacks which Hamas was suspected to have carried out, but did not claim responsibility.
The Mideast Quartet, comprising the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the U.N., has established three criteria for Hamas to meet before they deal with it: recognize Israels right to exist, renounce violence, and adhere to all previously signed Israel-Palestinian agreements.
Erdogan has been meeting with Hamas leaders since at least 2005, and recently announced he intends to visit Gaza, which Hamas has ruled since seizing control in 2007 after routing P.A. forces loyal to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Kerry told reporters in Istanbul that Turkey can be a key an important contributor to the process of peace [between Israel and the Palestinians] in so many ways.
[A] country as strong and as vibrant, as energized and as transformative as Turkey can have a profound impact by being a partner in this process, he said.
From Istanbul, Kerry traveled later Sunday to Israel, going directly to Ramallah in the P.A.-administered West Bank for talks with Abbas.
Terrorists who have not killed their quota are cowardly and must be condemned. \Democrat
Ignoring the obvious will kill you!
...condemned the cowardly terrorists who killed a young foreign service officer in Afghanistan and referred to Kurdish terrorism against Turkey......and that's how you lose in Syria. Amateur hour is back!
real bravery is throwing someone else’s war medals over the Capitol fence and then going to Georgetown cocktail parties to brag about it, eh John-John
If Kerry hadn’t been born into money - then married it - he’d be a manager at Walmart... and not a senior one...