Israeli media reported last month that the country’s security services had arrested the head of the Gaza branch of a humanitarian assistance program run by the Turkish government for funneling significant resources and funds to Hamas’ military wing. According to the Ynetnews report:
March 21, 2017 The Shin Bet arrested Muhammad Murtaja, the head of the Gaza branch of a humanitarian assistance program run by the Turkish government, for funneling significant resources and funds to Hamas’ military wing, it was cleared for publication on Tuesday. Murtaja was the coordinator of the Gaza branch of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) organization. According to the Shin Bet, was recruited by Hamas at the end of 2008. Murtaja’s activities with Hamas allegedly included military training, weapons manufacturing and storage, and the diversion of aid funds to Hamas for military purposes.
Muhammad Murtaja Murtaja was arrested and sent for questioning when he attempted to ostensibly travel through Israel to receive training from TIKA. Apparently, the trip was also meant to acquire information that would improve the accuracy of Hamas rockets being fired at Israel. The Shin Bet’s investigation and Murtaja’s interrogation uncovered the various fraud techniques Murtaja used. For example, he would give his superiors in TIKA a list of impoverished residents in the Gaza Strip who were candidates to receive financial aid. These lists actually came from Hamas senior officials, while most of the so-called ‘needy’ people on them were actually members of Hamas’s military wing or their relatives. In this manner, they received benefits and stipends.”
In August 2016, the GMBDW reported on a leaked German government document accusing the Turkish government of supporting terrorist organizations such as Hamas. As we noted at that time, we have frequently cited a 2011 report report authored by the GMBDW editor which examined the role of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in the background leading to the June 2010 Gaza Flotilla that was involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces. Some of the conclusions of that report included:
- There is strong evidence for Turkish governmental involvement in the Gaza flotilla incident, with Turkish government support channeled through the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood. The IHH was not acting alone but rather was an integral part of a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network.
- The Gaza flotilla incident brought into sharp focus an even more significant long- term development: the growing relationship between the Erdogan government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood, which has given rise to some of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups – from al-Qaeda to Hamas. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity.
- Although IHH [the flotilla main sponsor]declared that the flotilla was humanitarian in nature, the history of IHH suggests that it is not only a humanitarian organization…..Aside from these terrorist connections, this report demonstrates that IHH and the rest of the Turkish/MB network are in fact Islamist, politicized organizations.
In addition, in August 2014 the GMBDW was the first to report that Salah al-Arouri, a Hamas military leader residing in Turkey, had admitted that the Hamas military wing was responsible for the kidnapping, an event which sparked another round of the Gaza conflict. Since then, we have further and extensively covered developments relating to the Hamas network in Turkey.