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‘Erdogan and Turkish government supported IHH’
By YAAKOV KATZ
01/24/2011
Info acquired by the Meir Amit Intelligence, Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) says Turkish PM actively supported flotilla to Gaza.
 
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan actively supported the flotilla to the Gaza Strip and agreed to its departure while knowing that Israel would prevent it from reaching the Hamas-controlled territory, according to new information obtained by Israel.

The information was acquired by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) ahead of the publication of an extensive report that is being written on the Turkish government’s ties with IHH, the Islamic organization that organized the flotilla to the Gaza Strip last May.

The ITIC has, for example, uncovered a protocol from a meeting IHH held two weeks before the ship’s departure, which details the close cooperation between IHH and the Turkish government.

During the meeting, Yavuz Dede, a senior IHH official, said that the flotilla was supported by Erdogan and other senior members of the Turkish government.

“Government did not announce openly support for mission at first,” Dede said during the meeting, according to the transcript obtained by the ITIC. “But last few days [we have been] getting direct support from PM and other ministers.”

In 2008, Defense Minister Ehud Barak outlawed IHH in Israel due to its alleged support of Hamas.

Erdogan, who since the flotilla incident has cut off diplomatic ties with Israel, receives enormous political support from IHH activists, according to the report.

“Without their support, he would not have been elected prime minister,” the ITIC report claims, adding that the ITIC discovered that a quarter of senior IHH staff members used to or currently serve in senior positions within Erdogan’s AKP political party.

One example provided is of Zeyd Aslan, an AKP parliament member who is one of the founders of IHH. Another IHH official is Ali Yandir, who ran for mayor of an Istanbul suburb on the AKP ticket. Eyup Fatsa, an AKP parliament member, was chairman of IHH until 1999.

“The Turkish government was behind this unprecedented provocation against the State of Israel,” ITIC Director Reuven Erlich said on Sunday. “The Turkish government went through several levels of involvement from behind the scenes to the front. You cannot disconnect the two.”
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