Today, as part of simultaneous operations against al-Qaeda in six Turkish provinces, the country’s anti-terror police raided the offices of the IHH, the Islamic charity behind the 2010 Gaza flotilla. In addition to detaining one employee, the police seized all of the organization’s computers.
The incident is one of several in recent months that would appear to vindicate Israel’s stance that the Turkish-run flotilla was not the purely peaceful convoy it was made out to be. Two weeks ago, Turkish security forces stopped an IHH truck that was supposed to be carrying humanitarian aid to Syria, but was in fact filled with weapons. (The drivers claimed they were working for the IHH; the organization claimed they were not.)
The IHH is known for its close ties to Turkey’s government, in particular its ruling Justice and Development party headed by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, whose son Bilal is active in the group. The raids on the IHH coincide with a major power struggle taking place within Turkey between Erdogan and the Gülen movement, and may well be an attempt to crack down on the Prime Minister’s support base.
Israel has long maintained that the IHH-sponsored Gaza flotilla in 2010 was not intended to be a peaceful operation. They have pointed to the extensive trove of weapons found aboard the Mavi Marmara ship–which was raided by IDF commandos, resulting in the deaths of 9 Turks–and the terrorist links of many members of the group. Today’s news from Turkey would appear to bolster Israel’s contention that at least some members of the flotilla were not the humanitarians they claimed–if only three years too late to save Israel from international opprobrium.