The New York Times has published a report attempting to link the IHH, the Turkish charity which sponsored the ship involved in a violent altercation with Israeli forces, to the ruling Turkish AP party. According to the report:
According to a senior Turkish official close to the government, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the political delicacy of the issue, as many as 10 Parliament members from Mr. Erdogan’s governing Justice and Development Party were considering boarding the Mavi Marmara, the ship where the deadly raid occurred, but were warned off at the last minute by senior Foreign Ministry officials concerned that their presence might escalate tensions too much. When leaders of the charity returned home after nine Turks died in the Israeli raid, they were warmly embraced by top Turkish officials, said Huseyin Oruc, deputy director of the charity, who was aboard the flotilla…..Turkish officials said that the charity operated independently and that its leadership had refused to drop plans to break Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, despite requests from the government. The officials said they had no legal authority to stop the work of a private charity. Egemen Bagis, Turkey’s minister for European affairs, said in an interview that the charity and the Justice and Development Party, called the AK Party, had no substantive ties, even if people in politics often became involved in charitable groups. “The I.H.H. has nothing to do with the AK Party, and we have no hidden agenda,” Mr. Bagis said. But critics say such statements belie the close connections between the party and the charity, as well as the extent to which Turkish officials were closely attuned to the details of the flotilla’s mission before its departure. any of the 21 people listed on the charity’s board have or had close links to the AK Party. In January, Murat Mercan, chairman of Parliament’s foreign affairs committee and a senior party official, joined an overland aid convoy to Gaza organized by the charity that tried to force its way through the Rafah crossing from Egypt to Gaza.
The report goes on to identify three IHH Trustee/board members with ties to the AK Party.
That a Turkish Islamic charity has trustees with ties to the ruling Islamic party is unsurprising and not particularly notable and the Times, in is desire to link the IHH to the AK Party, has entirely missed the larger, Global Muslim Brotherhood environment of the flotilla movement. A previous post has documented the extensive role of the Global Muslim Brotherhood in the flotilla movement including not only the IHH, but the European Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other front organizations which played key roles as well. What the Times does not seem to understand is that the IHH was likely acting as the visible tip of the larger Brotherhood movement, no doubt because it is known as a humanitarian organization and the flotilla was portraying itself as a humanitarian effort.
The Times report also says that on Monday, “Germany banned the charity’s offices, citing its support for Hamas.” However, as discussed in another post, the German government said that as of 1997, IHH Germany had no relationship to IHH Turkey and no evidence has come to light to cast doubts on this assertion. However, IHH Germany is tied to the Turkish Islamist organization known as Milli Gorus, itself close to the German Muslim Brotherhood and which did have some role in the June flotilla.