Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed support for a potential agreement between Hamas and Israel regarding the release of hostages in Gaza. Erdogan confirmed that Turkey, in collaboration with Qatar, is actively involved in the negotiations.
The proposed Qatari-mediated deal includes the release of approximately 50 civilians held hostage by Hamas during an October 7 attack on Israel. In exchange, an undisclosed number of Palestinian women and minors held in Israeli custody would be released. As part of the agreement, a four-day truce is reportedly in consideration.
Speaking in Algiers alongside Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Erdogan emphasized Turkey's ongoing coordination with Qatari authorities on this potential deal. Unlike the United States and the European Union, Turkey does not designate Hamas as a terrorist group and maintains close ties with the political leadership of the militant group based in Doha.
Despite this diplomatic effort, Erdogan reiterated his strong criticism of Israel, condemning the country for "targeting places that should be protected under all circumstances, such as hospitals, places of worship, and schools." He labeled Israel's actions as "unconscionable and barbaric" and stressed the need for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza, prioritizing the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid.
President Tebboune echoed Erdogan's sentiments, emphasizing the necessity of Israeli leaders being tried in the International Criminal Court for their actions in Gaza. Erdogan has previously advocated for Israel to face international legal proceedings for what he described as "war crimes."
In addition to discussing regional issues, Erdogan and Tebboune signed 12 agreements aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between Algeria and Turkey during Erdogan's visit. These agreements cover various sectors, including gas cooperation between Turkish energy company BOTAS and Algeria's state oil and gas firm Sonatrach, as well as memoranda of understanding on trade, technology, and health.
Algeria, as Turkey's fourth-largest gas supplier after Russia, Azerbaijan, and Iran, plays a significant role in their economic relationship. Both countries aspire to boost their trade volume from the current $3 billion to $10 billion over the next five years. This visit follows President Tebboune's state visit to Turkey in July, making him one of the first foreign leaders hosted by Erdogan after his reelection in May.