Confusion deepens over Turkish, German aid charities
BERLIN - Daily News with wires | 7/13/2010 12:00:00 AM |
IHH Germany is banned due to its alleged links with Hamas and sparks controversy for İHH Turkey, although the latter claims to be a completely independent entity.
Germany’s recent ban on an aid organization due to its alleged links with Hamas and the group’s name analogy with another controversial charity in Turkey have sparked questions after the Turkish group denied any connections with the Frankfurt-based one.
The Frankfurt-based Internationale Humanitaere Hilfsorganisation, or IHH, is alleged to have collected money in mosques across Germany and sent roughly 6.6 million euros to relief organizations belonging to or supporting Hamas, which Germany considers a terrorist organization.
The organization was founded in 1992 in Freiburg, Germany, according to German authorities. They say the group split in two in 1997, IHH Germany and İHH Turkey, which are now two separate entities.
İHH Turkey, also known as the International Humanitarian Relief Organization, was recently involved in organizing a pro-Palestinian flotilla meant to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The flotilla was stopped by the Israeli military May 31. Eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed in the raid.
German authorities have been investigating the IHH in Frankfurt for a year. The main figures in IHH Germany are also active in the Islamic group Milli Görüş, which has been under observation by German authorities, German officials said.
On Monday, authorities raided 29 places throughout the country and confiscated files and data belonging to the organization.