A Turkish intelligence-linked jihadist charity group cultivated ties with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a secret wiretap obtained by Nordic Monitor has revealed.
According to the intercepted phone conversation between Bülent Yıldırım, president of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı, or IHH) and his deputy Hüseyin Oruç, the two discussed hosting Mohammed al-Hindi, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s political bureau.
The wiretap, recorded on February 15, 2013, reveals how the IHH promoted the idea of developing ties with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is backed and funded by Iran. Yıldırım ordered his deputy to host al-Hindi, who was invited to give speeches in Turkey by the Islamist Ribat Foundation. “He [al-Hindi] is a good man,” Yıldırım said in describing the senior Islamic Jihad figure while expressing concern about his appearing in public with al-Hindi. Instead, he urges his deputy to host the radical Palestinian figure for dinner in Istanbul.
Both Yıldırım and al-Hindi are staunchly anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli and committed to wiping Israel off the face of the map of the Middle East.
Wiretap transcript of conversation between IHH head Bülent Yıldırım and his deputy Hüseyin Oruç:Islamic_Jihad_IHH
The wiretap was authorized by a judge on February 5, 2013 as part of a confidential investigation into Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force activities in Turkey.
The IHH is a highly controversial charity group that was accused of smuggling arms to al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in Syria in January 2014 in another investigation conducted by a prosecutor in Turkey’s eastern province of Van. The investigation into a Turkish al-Qaeda cell found that İbrahim Şen, a top al-Qaeda operative who was detained in Pakistan and jailed at Guantanamo until 2005 before he was turned over to Turkey, his brother Abdurrahman Şen and others were sending arms, supplies and funds to al-Qaeda groups in Syria with the help of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), which is run by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s close confidant Hakan Fidan, another Islamist.
The IHH had long been flagged by Russia as an organization that smuggled arms to jihadist groups in Syria, according to intelligence documents submitted to the UN Security Council on Feb. 10, 2016. Russian intelligence documents even furnished the license plate numbers of trucks dispatched by the IHH loaded with arms and supplies bound for al-Qaeda-affiliated groups including the Nusra Front.
The leaked emails of Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of Turkey’s President Erdoğan and current finance and treasury minister, also implicated the IHH in arming Libyan factions. The secret document found in leaked emails tells the story of how the owner of a bankrupt shipping and container company asked for compensation from the Turkish government for damage his ship sustained while transporting arms between Libyan ports at the order of Turkish authorities in 2011. The document revealed all the details of a Turkish government-approved arms shipment to rebels in a ship contracted by the IHH.
The Turkish government led by Islamist President Erdoğan helped save the IHH from legal troubles in Turkey while mobilizing resources and diplomatic clout to back the IHH in global operations.