During a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis, Turkish President Erdoğan claimed Turkey is treating over 1,000 Hamas members in medical care. An anonymous Turkish official later corrected this, stating it was Gazan civilians, not Hamas members, receiving treatment. The Turkish Communication Directorate under the Presidency, however, did not amend Erdoğan’s statement, highlighting internal inconsistencies within the Turkish administration.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed over 1,000 Hamas members were being treated in Turkey.

The scandal unfolded during a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on 12 May in Ankara. The two leaders met to discuss various regional issues and bilateral relations as part of ongoing efforts to improve Greek-Turkish relations, which have been historically fraught with tensions. Both leaders aimed to address not only bilateral matters but also broader regional issues, including the conflict in Gaza.

Erdoğan, challenging Mitsotakis’ characterisation of Hamas as a terrorist organisation, stated, “Over 1,000 members of Hamas are currently receiving medical treatment in Turkey.” This declaration immediately attracted attention and controversy, given the sensitive nature of the subject and the context of regional tensions.

Observers are uncertain whether this was a slip of the tongue or a boast from a leader known for disregarding traditional diplomatic conventions. Nevertheless, the incident underscored  internal inconsistencies within the Turkish administration.

Shortly after the press conference, an anonymous Turkish official sought to rectify Erdoğan’s remarks in a statement to Reuters, claiming that it was not Hamas members but Gazan civilians who were being treated in Turkey. Despite this correction, the Turkish Communication Directorate, which operates directly under the Presidency, did not amend Erdoğan’s original comments.

Responding to Erdoğan’s remarks, Mitsotakis reiterated the Greek stance, describing Hamas as a ‘terrorist organisation’ and recalled the group’s attacks on 7 October. “We understand Turkey’s different approach to Hamas, but we are united in the necessity of protecting Gazan civilians,” Mitsotakis stated. He also condemned Israel’s ground operation in Rafah as “unacceptable”. “Let us agree to disagree on this point, but we are united in seeking a ceasefire,” Mitsotakis said, with Erdoğan responding, “Thank you.”