A Turkish intelligence-linked jihadist charity group networked with Indian extremist and militant Islamist organization the Popular Front of India (PFI) as part of the Turkish government’s outreach to Muslim communities in the Southeast Asia region.
According to a Nordic Monitor investigation, two key leaders of the PFI, E. M. Abdul Rahiman and Prof. P. Koya, members of the National Executive Council of the PFI, were privately hosted in Istanbul by the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı, or IHH), an al-Qaeda-linked Turkish charity.
The meeting was held at IHH headquarters in Istanbul on October 20, 2018 and attended by IHH Secretary-General Durmuş Aydın and IHH Vice President Hüseyin Oruç. The representatives of both organizations discussed promoting a partnership in various fields.
The IHH functions as the long arm of Turkey’s Islamist ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who effectively considers himself the leader of all Muslims worldwide. The IHH has been identified as an organization that closely works with Turkish intelligence service MIT, led by Erdoğan confidant Hakan Fidan, another Islamist figure.
The PFI appears to be a perfect match for the IHH as both organizations have been implicated in terrorism. According to Indian media reports based on intelligence sources, the PFI was found to be involved in the 2011 Mumbai bombings, the 2012 Pune blasts and the 2013 Hyderabad Dilsukhnagar attack.
The PFI issued a statement endorsing Turkish President Erdoğan after a 2016 coup attempt that was in fact a false flag orchestrated by Erdoğan’s intelligence and military chiefs to consolidate Islamists’ power in the government and launch an unprecedented purge of critics from government jobs.
The IHH was accused of smuggling arms to al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in Syria in January 2014 in a counterterrorism 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 intelligence service.
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 Erdoğan government helped save the IHH from legal troubles in Turkey while mobilizing resources and diplomatic clout to back the IHH in global operations.