World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish charity IHH's General Secretary Yasar Kutluay is making an official statement in a press conference at their headquarters in Istanbul after their office in the Turkish city of Kilis was raided at 6 A.M. this morning.
Kutluay said that efforts were being made by certain bureaucrats and prosecutors to threaten IHH and intimidate them away from their charity work in war-torn Syria. He also claimed that attempts were being made to portray IHH as an Al-Qaeda affiliate.
Promising to continue their work in Syria and the Gaza Strip, Kutluay said that certain groups were uncomfortable seeing a Turkish organization successfully negotiating the release of war prisoners in Syria, and that organizations and individuals who are working as legionnaires for Israel will be exposed.
Lawyer Ugur Yildirim also spoke, saying that the Kilis office was raided as part of a search for an Al Qaeda operative who has supposedly given the office as his home address.
Yildirim added that the Turkish Justice Ministry will investigate the police officers who conducted the raid in an illegal fashion, and that two prosecutors have been appointed to the case. According to the official statement, all staff at the office were told to leave while the raid took place.
On their official Twitter accounts, IHH officials claimed that the police who conducted the operation came after a chief prosecutor in the city of Van ordered the raid.
IHH found themselves embroiled in a scandal two weeks ago when a truck carrying weapons was stopped at the Turkish-Syrian border. Early headlines suggested that the truck belonged to IHH, but these allegations were later proved false.
Charity head Bulent Yildirim had previously claimed that he and his charity were being targeted as part of a nationwide operation led by the so called 'parallel state' which has been accused of also being behind the December 17 anti-graft raids that saw the arrest of a number of ruling AK Party government loyalists.
The raid, which resulted in the arrest of one member of staff, came after Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman described the IHH as the biggest threat to Israel.
IHH gained a worldwide reputation after sending the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to break the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza in May 2010. 9 Turkish citizens were killed by Israeli commandos who intercepted the ship in international waters.Last Mod: 14 Ocak 2014, 13:20