The IHH, a Turkish charity that was one of the main planners of the Gaza flotilla, is widely considered a terrorist organization by a number of bodies - including the Israeli government - and has been accused of maintaining ties with a number of terror organizations.
The IHH, short for the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (Insani Yardim Vakfi
), is an Islamic charity that was founded in the mid-90s to provide aid to Bosnia Muslims. Since then, it has been involved in charity operations in a number of Muslim and Middle Eastern countries, including Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and aid missions to the Palestinian territories.
According to the Israeli NGO The Intelligence and Information Center, the IHH is affiliated with Hamas and the Union of the Good, an Islamic umbrella affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2006, a report issued by the Danish Institute for International Studies stated that during the 1990s the IHH maintained links with al-Qaida and a number of "global jihad networks." The report also said that the Turkish government launched an investigation into the IHH starting December 1997 after receiving intelligence that the IHH had bought automatic weapons from Islamist terrorists.
The report said that following the revelation, the Turkish government launched a raid on the organization’s Istanbul offices, where they found weapons, explosives, and instructions for bomb-making. The report added that an examination of documents found at the IHH office indicated that the group was planning to take part in terrorist activities in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Bosnia.
According to the study, a French intelligence report found that in the mid-1990s IHH leader B’ulent Yildirim recruited soldiers for jihad activities in a number of Muslim countries and that the IHH transferred money, firearms, and explosives to jihadists in said countries.
Izzet Sahnin, an employee of the IHH was arrested by the security
services outside Bethlehem in April for what the Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency) said was suspicion that he “was working for an extended
period of time in Judea and Samaria for the Turkish organization IHH,
which Israel declared illegal in 2008.”
The Shin Bet added that they suspected Sahnin’s activities “endangered
West Bank security”.
Following the arrest, the IHH posted a press statement on its Web site
that said “Izzet Sahin, who has been living in West Bank since the 28th
of November, 2009 [and is] a student of [the] Hebrew University, was
taken into custody in an illegal manner on the 27th of April, 2010.
First court hearing of Izzet Sahin was held last week... Officials from
IHH demand [that the] Turkish government interfere to ensure Sahin’s
The Turkish government has denied assisting the IHH in its planning or
funding of the Gaza flotilla.