Turkish security forces this week raided the offices of the group that sponsored the infamous Mavi Marmara flotilla that attempted to aid the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in 2010 and engaged in violent clashes with Israeli soldiers.
As WND was first to report, the U.S. contingent of the Gaza flotilla counts friends and associates of President Obama among its leaders, including the founders of the Weather Underground terrorist organization, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and Jodie Evans, a founder of the radical activist organization Code Pink.
Earlier this week, Turkish forces stormed the offices of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or IHH, as part of an al-Qaida probe in which 25 terrorist suspects were arrested. A relief worker from IHH was among those detained. IHH computers and documents reportedly were seized.
Turkish security organizations accused the IHH of aiding al-Qaida groups. The IHH previously was accused of transporting weapons to jihadists fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad under the guise of humanitarian aid.
Earlier this month, local media reports stated an IHH truck was detained attempting to cross the Syrian border with weapons hidden among packages of aid.
IHH charged that the raid was political. The group is known to be close to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been facing mounting charges from his country’s security forces of corruption and attempting to Islamize the military and police.
IHH is best known as the main sponsor of the May 2010 flotilla to Gaza.
Working with the IHH, the flotilla was organized by the Free Gaza Movement, a coalition of leftist human rights activists and pro-Palestinian groups engaged in attempts to break a blockade imposed by Israel on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Ayers and Dohrn were close associates for years of President Obama, while Evans of Code Pink was a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
In January 2010, WND reported Ayers, Dohrn and Evans provoked chaos on the streets of Egypt in an attempt to enter Gaza with the Free Gaza Movement to join in “solidarity” with the territory’s population and leadership.
The three helped to stir riots after the Egyptian government refused to allow a large number of protesters to enter neighboring Gaza. Eventually, the protesters accepted an Egyptian offer of allowing about 100 marchers into Gaza. Once in the territory, the marchers were reportedly met on the Gaza side by former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
At the time of the march, Secretary of State John Kerry, then a senator, wrote a letter in support of a “humanitarian delegation from Massachusetts” to Gaza. Members of Ayers’, Dohrn’s and Evans’ group documented on their blogs that Kerry’s letter was used at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to pressure Egypt to let the group into Gaza.
Images of the letter were also posted on the Electronic Intifada website run by Ali Abunimah, who was with Evans’ group in Egypt and who, WND previously reported, spoke at pro-Palestinian events in the 1990s alongside Obama. In one such event, a 1999 fundraiser for Palestinian “refugees,” Abunimah recalled introducing Obama on stage.
Kerry’s office previously met with Code Pink members, WND has learned. Sarah Roche-Mahdi of Code Pink also is a member of the United for Peace and Justice Palestine Task Force, which met with Kerry’s staffers.
Kerry in 2009 became the most senior U.S. politician to visit the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, although at the time he did not meet with Hamas leaders.
Dohrn later wrote on a blog that she was briefly detained at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo following the January protests there by her group: “Bill and I went to the American Embassy at 10 a.m. and asked to see the ambassador. We were ushered into a holding pen a block away from the embassy building where we joined 35 people already there, surrounded by Egyptian soldiers.”
Turk admits activists started clashes
The Israel Defense Forces did not open fire on activists aboard a Hamas-supporting flotilla until the soldiers’ lives were endangered by those on the now infamous ship, admitted a Turkish journalist who was on the flotilla.
Some participants in the Mavi Marmara flotilla had claimed in media interviews that Israeli troops indiscriminately opened fire upon boarding the ship from a helicopter. Nine activists were killed in the clashes that ensued.
The IHH-purchased ship attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The Jewish state maintains the blockade to ensure against Hamas arming itself at sea. The terrorist group had been caught several times attempting to smuggle weapons, including rockets and advanced missiles, into Gaza by sea.
“I saw with my own eyes that when the soldiers came on helicopters and started landing on the ship, they did not fire,” stated Turkish journalist Sefik Dinc.
“It wasn’t until the soldiers were met with resistance and realized that some of their friends’ lives were in danger that they began using live ammunition,” he said.
Dinc, who wrote a book about his experiences on the flotilla, was speaking in a November 2010 interview with Israel’s Channel One. The interview was translated into English by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
Consistent with video footage and testimonies of Israeli soldiers who had boarded the ship, Dinc recalled flotilla activists using iron bars against the IDF troops.
WND previously reported that prior to its violent confrontation with Israeli commandos, the commander of the flotilla announced participants were planning to use “resistance” and declared the ship’s activists wanted to die as “martyrs” more than they wanted to reach the Gaza Strip, according to Hamas television.
Also WND reported video footage showing flotilla activists shouting anti-Jewish battle cries and speaking of using “resistance” against Israel. One participant stated she saw only two possible outcomes for the boat occupants – “either martyrdom or reaching Gaza.”
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott.