ANKARA — Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and Hamas Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh discussed the release of civilian hostages the militant group holds in Gaza in a phone call on Monday.
Fidan and the Doha-based Haniyeh discussed "the latest developments in Palestine and the possibility of release of civilians" held by Hamas, according to a Turkish readout of the call. It didn't provide further details.
The phone call marks the first known public contact between a high-level Turkish official and the militant group since Hamas' unprecedented attack on Israel on Oct. 7. The militant group is believed to be holding at least 199 individuals, including civilians, in Gaza, Israel said on Monday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that his government was working intensively with all parties for the release of the hostages. Unlike the United States and the European Union, Turkey doesn’t recognize Hamas as a terror outfit and maintains direct contact with the group.
Separately, Erdogan on Monday warned his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi against steps that would increase tensions in the Israel-Hamas war during a phone call between the two leaders, amid lingering tensions between Israeli forces and Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah along Israel’s northern border.