MAVI MARMARA & Company : Turkish charity IHH head dismisses truck allegations


Worldbulletin – 3.1.2014 – Turkish charity IHH, which is famous for sending the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to Gaza in 2010, was accused of shipping weapons to Syria. A conspiracy surrounding Turkish charity IHH hit the headlines on Thursday.

IHH, which gained worldwide recognition after organizing the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza in May 2010, was accused of attempting to send a truck loaded with weapons to Al-Qaeda affiliates fighting in Syria across the Turkish border. Although shortly after the scandal made headlines across Turkey the news was quickly falsified, many argue that the incident was a set-up to darken IHH’s image.

Bulent Yildirim, the chairman of IHH, had just a few days earlier warned of a plot being drawn up by undercover elements in the Turkish judiciary to target the charity, reiterating Prime Minister Erdogan’s comments of a ‘parallel state’ working within the Turkish system with the aim of undermining the will of the Turkish people. Last week, Istanbul’s new police chief and the gendarme blocked an attempt on a second operation ordered by prosecutor Muammer Akkas, who later had the case taken away from him. The recent accusation against the IHH charity is by some considered to be a failed attempt at a third operation.

Speaking to Turkey’s Yeni Safak, Yildirim said that the accusations are a direct result of Israel’s wish to normalize relations with Turkey, after the Jewish state was left isolated following Turkey’s freezing of diplomatic relations after 9 Turkish citizens were killed by Israeli commandos aboard the Mavi Marmara. Claiming that Israel had sent various mediators to the IHH, including some from abroad, Yildirim said ‘They want to silence our voice regarding the agreements in the normalization process between Turkey and Israel.’

Yildirim said that Israel had prepared a dossier on him which proposed three possible solutions. The first, he said, was to kill him. However, as this would make him a hero in the eyes of the people, they suggested a second option, which was to get various governmental departments to put pressure on IHH and force him to step down, which Yildirim said is now underway. Thirdly, as they realize that should he step down he would only continue his mission elsewhere, the last option would be to discredit his reputation, he said.

Claiming that the reputation of IHH has been under attack by those suggesting they had links to Al-Qaeda and Iran, he expressed his dismay at the way the media immediately published the truck scandal in English to the rest of the world, before the details could even be looked into. On hearing the news, Yildirim said that IHH phoned the gendarme, who told them that a truck loaded with weapons had been found but was not a truck belonging to IHH.

Although he said he had no clue who the truck really belonged to, he said that he was aware of some reports linking it to the Turkish secret services in an attempt to make Turkey look like a state that supports terrorism. According to Yildirim, this is an attempt to smear the image of Prime Minister Erdogan, as Israel has no plans to share profits gained from oil revenues with the Palestinians, and they know this would not be possible with Erdogan around.

Yildirim, who had previously claimed that a special team had been tasked to assassinate him, issued a message to those who are seeking to cause chaos in Turkey, saying ‘repent and retreat, or else this nation will never forget you.’

When asked if he though Israel would target the charity again, Yildirim said, ‘Of course. Israel is not finished with the IHH yet…Israel sees us as a threat and we see Israel as a threat to the whole world. For this reason we will not cease our struggle against Zionism.’

‘However, the IHH’s greatest advantage is our transparency in everything…our humanitarian relief work, our diplomacy, our mediation,’ he added.