|From the IHH's Flickr Page: Providing humanitarian|
support to Arakanese refugees in Bangladesh,
September 2012 [Image Source]
The deaths of nine men - mostly Turks and all of them invariably described in the media as 'activists' - in a commando raid on the vessel continue to be cited by the Turkish prime minister as the reason why he refuses to reconcile with Israel. He made the point again this past Sunday [source]. At a congress of his political party in Ankara and while standing beside Egypt's Moslem Brotherhood prime minister Mohammed Morsi, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Israel must lift its blockade of Gaza and must also apologize for the attack on the Mavi Marmara.
Let's note Israel's position: that it regrets the loss of lives, that an apology is not required, and that its commandos opened fire only after they came under violent armed attack by the 'activists'.
This blog post is not actually about the ship. It's about the organization that arranged it, financed it, sent it on its way and continues to thoroughly milk the public relations impact of what happened on board two years ago. We are referring to İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı. Translated from Turkish, the name means The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief. It's commonly called IHH [website here].
So how humanitarian is it, actually? On the face of it, quite. Wikipedia says:
The IHH aims to reach every region hit by wars, disasters, poverty and human rights abuses, and believes that civilian initiatives play a complementary role beside intervention by states and international organizations in resolving humanitarian problems. It is also their goal to deliver humanitarian aid to all people and take necessary steps to prevent any violations against their basic rights and liberties...Reuters (May 31, 2010):
...An Islamic charity group that was formed to provide aid to Bosnian Muslims in the mid-1990s. It has been involved in aid missions in Pakistan, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Indonesia, Iraq, Palestinian territories and other places...Now to more recent disclosures.
Under cover of providing aid [source] to Syrian refugees, IHH is delivering heavy arms to the anti-government forces in Syria. In a report dated September 20, 2012 ["Flotilla group accused of Syria gun run"], London's Jewish Chronicle said IHH helped organize a ship carrying arms to Syria from Libya and that these were distributed to Muslim Brotherhood fighters in the Free Syrian Army.
In case Jewish news sources don't meet some people's credibility threshold, Iran's Ayatollah-dominated FARS news service is running with a story today that asserts pretty much the same thing: that IHH, collaborating with the Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu and with various Wahhabi groups from Saudi Arabia, is sending heavy weaponry to Syrian rebels under the guise of humanitarian relief aid.
There is corroborative evidence that IHH (under the cover of humanitarian aid) is providing the terrorists in Syria with heavy weaponry, including anti-aircraft missiles and Turkish newspapers and western officials in Syria have mentioned this help to the Syrian rebels. On September 14, media reports revealed that a huge arms cargo had been shipped to Turkey to be delivered to terrorists and armed groups in Syria... On September 10, 2012, Turkish Airlines transited Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants from North Waziristan in Pakistan to the Turkish borders with Syria, sources had revealed. A new Al-Qaeda has been created in the region through the financial and logistical backup of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and a number of western states, specially the US," a source told FNA earlier this month... Syrian rebels and terrorist groups have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States. Since the beginning of unrests in Syria in March 2011, Turkey has tried hard to intensify the crisis in Syria by training terrorists and sending weapons to the Arab country [Syria]. [more]Back in 2006 a report [source] issued by the Danish Institute for International Studies said IHH was linked to al-Qaeda and other “global jihad networks” during the 1990s. In those years, Turkey was a different place with a secular government and in December 1997, that government launched an investigation into IHH, including a raid on its Istanbul offices in which weapons, explosives and instructions for bomb-making were found. The belief was that IHH was planning to take part in terrorist activities in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Bosnia, as well as sending money, firearms and explosives to jihadists there and elsewhere.
Some things change. Some stay the same.