(photo credit: Courtesy)
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
During the meeting, Yavuz Dede, a senior IHH official, said
that the flotilla was supported by Erdogan and other senior members of the
“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.
since the flotilla incident has cut off diplomatic ties with Israel, receives
enormous political support from IHH activists, according to the
“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
“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.”