Dubious Turkish organization IHH sends legal notice to Blitz


Following publication of a number of investigative reports, dubious Turkish organization IHH has sent a legal notice on Blitz. It may be mentioned here that, IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation or İHH, which has been identified as an organization that closely works with Turkish intelligence service MIT and according to leaked emails of Berat Albayrak, a former finance minister of Turkey and the son-in-law of… Tayyip Erdogan, also reportedly implicated the IHH in arming Libyan groups.

In the emailed legal notice, Ugur YILDIRIM of Yildirim Hukuk, G. Ali Riza Gürcan Cad, Metropol İş Merkezi, No:31 K:10 D: 41-42 Merter/Istanbul, Turkey wrote:

“As the lawyers of IHH-Humanitarian Relief Foundation, we kindly inform you about the legal rights of the client against the news published on your website. Here you can find the document related to the news subjected to this issue”.

In a letter which is sent as an attachment, Ugur YILDIRIM wrote:

We, as Yıldırım Attorney and Advocacy are contacting you on behalf of our client IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (“IHH”). We are writing to you about two news story published on your news site that links are given below.

Indian militancy group expands network in the Middle East | BLiTZ (weeklyblitz.net)

First of all, it needs to be clear that our client IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Turkey, which operates worldwide in the provision of charitable aid and acts an advocate for human rights and humanitarian diplomacy. It works to prevent the violation of the basic rights and freedoms of people who suffer as a result of extreme poverty, war, natural disasters or similar calamities. IHH is also a membership of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (“ICVA”).

Alsoour client is a United Nations (“UN”) Economic and Social Council (“ECOSOC”) member of a consultant status. The UN Charter established ECOSOC in 1945 as one the six main organs of the UN. It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals.

The acronym IHH is derived from the charity’s Turkish name, İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı which translate into English as “The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief” and is commonly referred to as “IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation”.

The statements contained in your news story, has no accuracy, and no evidence, information or document to support your statement presented by you. The subject statements are clearly defamatory statements.

The client Foundation has been operating in the Republic of Turkey since 1995 and there is no single court decision or decision of this nature regarding terrorist or jihadist links. The client Foundation has never had a connection to Jihadist organizations. The only purpose of IHH has been to carry out humanitarian activities. IHH-Humanitarian Relief Foundation has extended its arms to people who have been displaced due to terrorist organizations and has extended a helping hand to people in need of help.

IHH continues its humanitarian activities in 136 countries around the world. IHH’s activities’ sole purpose is to extend a helping hand to people in need, to deliver humanitarian aid. IHH has never been linked to terrorist organizations on the contrary, IHH makes intensive efforts to reach out to people who is helpless.

IHH is an organisation working toward helping humanity all over the world and particularly in situations of crisis.

IHH works in the face of adversity in every region facing a crisis, in which it operates. Its fighting spirit allows it to rise above the baseless conjecture and criticism it faces in order to continue doing the fundamental humanitarian work it is mandated to do. Defamatory remarks made with the sole purpose of harming IHH, have previously been defended by IHH and it shall continue to present a robust approach in challenging the publication of false information, whether through the media and/or legal proceedings.

If we take into account all of these factors, reserving the right to object and that there is not any ruling about IHH, we kindly request that our article be evaluated and that the relevant news story be removed or that our article be published under this news story. Otherwise we are obliged to take legal actions against your institution.

The IHH press and public relations unit and the IHH legal department are ready to respond.

According to The Times, a Free Syrian Army commander said that a boat carrying weapons docked in Syria in September 2012 and “was registered to members of the IHH, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood”. Samar Srewel, an FSA activist who had helped to organize the consignment, told The Times“It was clear from that second what was happening. The Muslim Brotherhood, through its ties in Turkey, was seizing control of this ship and the cargo. This is what they do. They buy influence with their money and guns”.

Here is our reply:

On 18 March 2016, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin sent a letter to the UN Security Council saying that three Turkish humanitarian organizations (NGOs) sent weapons and supplies to extremists in Syria on behalf of Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency during the Syrian civil war. The three NGOs were the Besar Foundation, the Iyilikder Foundation and the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms (IHH).

At an interview with the Investigative Project on Terrorism in 2018, former Turkish National Police official Ahmet Yayla said the National Intelligence Organization has used Turkey’s IHH as an intermediary to provide al-Qaeda with weapons.

Recent court case in Turkey 11.06.2021 in relation to the bombing that killed over 100 people in Ankara October 2015, evidence and witness accounts showed ISIS affiliated groups were supported by IHH to give aid and more.

Anadolu Agency reported that two employees of IHH, were detained for alleged links to al-Qaida, in a Turkish anti-terrorism police raids on 13 January 2014. IHH spokesman said that police searched its office in Kilis, near the border with Syria, and detained one of its employees. Another IHH employee was detained in Kayseri after a police raid at his home.

The IHH has repeatedly supported the (re-)conversion of the Hagia Sophia, a former Christian Cathedral which was converted into a Mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul and is now a Museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, into a Mosque, and in 2015 IHH organized and led political rallies in Istanbul, in an effort to support its cause.

According to the European Parliament, the ‘international humanitarian aid organization’ IHH is a radical Islamic, anti-American organization established in close proximity to the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas). It has proven links with Islamism and the Turkish Government. In addition to its legitimate humanitarian activities, the IHH also gives financial and logistical support to radical Islamic terrorist networks. Israel’s Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) claims to have reliable information and reports on the role of the IHH and of the Turkish Government in the flotilla operation in support of Hamas off the coast of Gaza.

The IHH in Germany was shut down by the Ministry of the Interior on 12 July 2010. The reason given was that the IHH supported Hamas, which was in power in the Gaza Strip, thereby contravening the spirit of the understanding between peoples. A study was undertaken in 2006 by the Danish Institute for International Studies — a research institute — clearly linking the IHH with Al-Qaeda and worldwide Jihad. The IHH has representations in Belgium, Denmark, Holland and Austria and numerous partner organizations. According to security experts, the IHH is used as an example to illustrate the way in which NGOs concerned with foreign affairs are used and exploited. Three years ago, it was awarded a prize by the Turkish Parliament. There are rumors of close links between the IHH and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, who holds Islamist views. An article in the New York Times of 15 July 2010 states that, in the run-up to the critical parliamentary elections, the IHH helped Prime Minister Erdogan to gain the support of conservative Muslims and improve the image and influence of Turkey in the Arab world.

In 2021, Sweden-based news portal Nordic Monitor in a report said:

An Al-Qaeda-linked charity group in Turkey has been working with Islami Sangh Nepal (ISN), its regional partner in South Asia, to expand its logistical hub for jihadist networks, a Nordic Monitor investigation has found.

The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı, or IHH) runs multiple projects in Nepal, especially in areas close to the Indian border, to broaden the support base among the country’s minority Muslim community and expand logistical operations in support of global jihadist networks. The main facilitator for the IHH gaining a foothold in the country was the ISN, which has received funding directly from Turkey to finance various projects.

While Nepal’s ISN was red flagged by the Indian intelligence services for its alleged support of jihadist militants, its Turkish partner, the IHH, was described as an arms smuggler in UN Security Council documents and was investigated for running a line of support to armed jihadist groups in Syria.

The IHH is known as a tool of Turkish intelligence agency MİT and has been supported by the government of Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which granted the organization special privileges for raising funds. Thanks to the political cover from the government, the IHH managed to escape legal punishment when it faced multiple counterterrorism investigations in Turkey in the past.

The activities of the IHH focus on several provinces of Nepal, especially in Province No. 1, Province No. 2 and Lumbini province. It has established mosques, madrasas, orphanages and Islamic centers in several cities including the capital city Kathmandu. It seems the IHH has taken a special interest in places like Sunsari that are close to the Indian border.

The ISN’s connection to Turkey’s radical Islamists is not only limited to the IHH. It was also listed as a member of an organization called the Union of NGOs of the Islamic World (İslam Dünyası Sivil Toplum Kuruluşları Birliği, or İDSB), a front outfit for Turkish paramilitary group SADAT.

SADAT is run by Adnan Tanrıverdi, a former chief military advisor to President Erdoğan who helped organize jihadist groups in Turkey and abroad, provided military training and offered counseling on military and security logistics. The ISN is listed as member No. 287 in the İDSB and was officially registered as such on January 23, 2015.  A review of events and conferences shows that ISN officials frequently attended meetings organized by the İDSB.

Turkish government’s development agency TIKA is also one of the sponsors of ISN activities in Nepal.

Ali Fuat Yılmazer, former head of the Turkish police intelligence section that specializes in radical religious groups, testified in court on August 16, 2016 that “the IHH campaigns are designed to provide aid for jihadists engaged in terrorism around the world and supply medical aid, funding, logistics and human resources for jihadists”.

According to investigative reports prepared by the Turkish Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), an al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkish police officer who gunned down the Russian ambassador in December 2016 in the Turkish capital of Ankara had transferred money to the IHH.


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