|Head of the terrorist organization, Hamas, |
Khaled Mashaal, on one of several visits
to Turkey, with the Turkish leader Erdogan
This Ongoing War..
10 January '15..
For Americans, and for those of us hoping to see the US show some spine in the face of terrorism's expanding frontiers, this depressing exchange below from Thursday's Daily Press Briefing at the State Department in Washington DC is worth filing away and remembering. ["Ms. Psaki" refers to the spokesperson for the United States Department of State, Jennifer Psaki, who served previously as spokesperson for President Barack Obama. "Matt", who asks the questions, is probably Matt Lee who covers the State Department for Associated Press.]
QUESTION: -- Turkey, the Turkish foreign minister has said that the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, is welcome in Turkey anytime he wants to – any time he wants to go. Do you have any thoughts about that, given the fact that he is --
MS. PSAKI: I spoke to this a little bit yesterday, but it wasn’t asked in the exact same way. Our position on Hamas has not changed. Hamas is a designated foreign terrorist organization that continues to engage in terrorist activity and demonstrate its intentions during the summer’s conflict in – with Israel. We continue to raise our concerns about the relationship between Hamas and Turkey with senior Turkish officials, including after learning of Meshaal’s recent visit there. And we have urged the Government of Turkey to press Hamas to reduce tensions and prevent violence.
QUESTION: Well, I mean, is there any – I mean, I don’t get it. This guy is the leader of a terrorist organization. If Ayman Zawahiri showed up in Turkey, would you have a similar muted response? I mean --
MS. PSAKI: I don’t think that’s a muted response. Obviously, we look at each situation case by case.
QUESTION: Well, this is a NATO ally and they seem to be --
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
QUESTION: -- they’re hosting and seem to be willing and happy to host the leader of a group that you deem a foreign terrorist organization. So is Hamas somehow less bad than other – other groups that are on the FTO list?