Report: Leader of Turkey’s IHH Suspected of Funding al-Qaida

Bulent Yilidirim, leader of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, was one of the organizers of the 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla.

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The leader of Turkey’s IHH, which organized the 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla, is being investigated on suspicion of funding al-Qaida through the organization, Turkish media reported on Friday.

According to the reports, Bulent Yilidirim, the leader of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, known by its Turkish acronym IHH, was investigated by a specially appointed prosecutor under the suspicion that the organization is being used to channel funds to al-Qaida.

Yilidirim, who was on board the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship, is accused of "providing financial aid to al-Qaida via his foundation," the daily Hurriyet reported.

The reports did not mention the source of the funds or the al-Qaida cell which was financed.

Yilidirim was among the organizers of the flotilla in June 2010, aiming to break the Gaza blockade, which was intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces and resulted in the death of nine Turkish nationals and ten wounded Israeli commando soldiers.

A few days following the incident, a video of Yilidirim speaking on board the Mavi Marmara was made public by Israel's Foreign Ministry. Yilidirim is filmed addressing activists, saying in Turkish: "If they (Israeli army) board our ship, we will throw them into the sea, Allah willing!"

The Mavi Marmara cruise ship, part of the Gaza aid flotilla.Credit: Reuters



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