Authorities in Turkey are reportedly investigating allegations that one of the key figures behind the May 2010 Gaza flotilla, the head of the Islamist foundation Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), was involved in transferring funds to al-Qaeda. The newspaper ‘Habertürk’ reported on Friday that IHH director Bülent Yildirim is being investigated for allegedly creating a financial partnership with the terror network. The daily ‘Hürriyet’ reported Friday that Yildirim had allegedly been secretly channeling funds to al-Qaeda through his organization.
Prosecutors claim to have evidence suggesting that efforts were made by the IHH to conduct the financial transactions without the identification needed for wire transfers. Yildirim’s IHH largely funded the 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla.
On 31 May 2010, Israeli naval commandos raided the Mavi Marmara one of six flotilla vessels attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, killing nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists. While Turkey has accused Israel of unprovoked aggression and demanded an apology for the deaths, Israel maintains that the commandos were confronted by IHH terrorists when they boarded the vessel and acted in self-defense.
IHH is considered a terrorist organization by a number of bodies, including the Israeli government. It has in the past been accused of maintaining ties with a number of terror organizations.
IHH was founded in the 1990s to provide aid to Muslims in Bosnia. Since then, it has been involved in operations in a number of Muslim and Middle Eastern countries, including Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and aid missions to the Palestinian territories. IHH also maintains ties with Hamas and the Union of the Good, an Islamic umbrella body affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.