A Turkish charity with ties to terrorism has become a major recipient of western aid in the aftermath of last month’s Turkish earthquake, Focus on Western Islamism reports.
The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) is a Turkish charity that has been banned in multiple EU countries for ties to jihadism. In spite of that, it has been playing an important role in fundraising efforts for the victims of the Turkish earthquake, which has had the effect of giving it political and moral legitimacy.
Founded in the 1990s to support Bosnian rebels, the IHH has been described as a Turkish government proxy, giving logistical support to Islamists and advancing Ankara’s foreign policy objectives. The group has often been used as a liaison point with extremist Syrian rebels. Turkey has been lambasted for supporting Islamist extremism over the past decade to further destabilise Syria, using NGO fronts.
Since the earthquake disaster, the IHH has been favourably covered by various Western media outlets, such as the New York Times, Politico, and TIME Magazine, with the White House listing the charity as suitable for Americans to donate to.
Despite this endorsement, the IHH has been implicated in arms smuggling to Al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria and is described as a terrorist organisation in Germany. MEPs have questioned the IHH’s role in fomenting Islamist extremism in India.
An egregious example of the IHH’s willing support of Islamic terrorism was its online homage to Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev, responsible for murdering 186 Russian schoolchildren in the 2004 Beslan school massacre.
The border region of Turkey and Syria, where disaster relief is centred, has long been a hotbed of Islamist terrorism. These organisations eagerly present themselves as respectable fronts, working alongside Western charities. However, recent revelations are a cause for concern when a shadowy network of Islamist charities is found benefitting from the generosity and naivety of the West.