IHH (Turkish NGO)

IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation [2] (Turkish: İHH İnsani Yardım Vakfı , full Turkish name: İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı , [3] in English: The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief ) or İHH is a conservative Turkish NGO, whose members are predominantly Turkish Muslims, active in more than 100 countries. [4]

Established in 1992 and officially registered in Istanbul in 1995, İHH provides humanitarian relief in areas of war, earthquake, hunger , and conflict. [5] The İHH holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2004 [6] [7] Current President of the İHH is Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım .

The ship was in the convoy of the vessel in Gaza in 2010. These ships included the MV Mavi Marmara , a passenger vessel that served as the flagship of the convoy. [8] [9] As Israeli naval forces boarded the ships, attacked the boarding forces with clubs, knives and firearms. Nine passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara , many of the members of the İHH, [10] were killed [11] [12] [13] [14]


The Istanbul-based Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH) is an Islamic charity group that was formed to provide Bosnian Muslims in the mid-1990s. It has been involved in Pakistan , Ethiopia , Lebanon , Indonesia , Iraq , Palestine , Sudan , Somalia , Ghana, Mongolia, China, Brazil, Argentina and other places. [15]

The organization is active in Turkey , the Middle East , Europe, Africa, South America, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Caucasus . [16] İHH has held Special Consultative status as an NGO in the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2004. [6] [7] İHH is the organizer of the Africa Cataract Project which aims to fight against blindness Africa.

Mission and Trustees

The IHH aims to reach every region hit by wars, disasters, poverty and human rights abuses, and believes that civilian initiatives play a complementary role in the world. It is also their goal to deliver humanitarian aid to all people and to take steps to prevent violations of their basic rights and liberties. [17]

These goals are achieved through the delivery of foodstuffs, clothes and tents to crisis regions, conflicts, and natural disaster to meet urgent needs of victims. The foundation provides for increased care and aridity-stricken regions, where they have a long history of caring for their loved ones. [17] For those who want to work with the organization, some of the activities include taking active part in their activities, making donations or fundraising, organizing seminars, and distributing posters. [18]

Trustees of the organization include: [19]

  • Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım – President
  • Hüseyin Oruç – Deputy President
  • Mahmut Savaş – Charter member

Memberships and recognition

The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in the special consultative status, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Humanitarian Forum, the Council of International Organizations Relief in Iraq, the Union of Non-governmental Organizations of the Islamic World (UNIW), and the Turkish Foundation for Volunteer Organizations (TGTV). The group has also received the following recognitions:

  • The Parliament Award of Honor [Turkish Parliament ] [17]
  • “Foundation that uses its resources in the most efficient way” [17]
  • Human rights award (COJEP, Strasbourg-based, multicultural youth association) [20] [21]

Humanitarian activities

The İHH provides social aid, cultural aid, sanitary aid, emergency aid programs in 120 countries. [22] It provides health care and water well in Africa and runs the Africa Cataract Project , launched in 2007, in ten African countries. İHH has made it possible for thousands of people who are suffering from cataracts but who do not have the economic means to be treated to see again. İHH built 1174 water wells in Africa. [23] İHH feels two cargo planes to Haiti with 33 tons of humanitarian aid after the 2010 Haiti earthquake . [16]

In December 2007, Today’s Zaman wrote that “various civil society organizations such as Kimse Yok Mu? (Is Anybody There?), Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse), the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH) and Can Suyu of reaching out to poverty-stricken residents of the Kurdish-dominated eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey. ” [24]

World Newspaper wrote in August 2009 that have been dubbed and fountains were built in an effort under the leadership of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH) across African countries. [25] Several Turkish nongovernmental organizations, such as Kimse Yok Mu? (Is anybody there?), The Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH) and Deniz Feneri (lighthouse), also provided to help survivors in Bangladesh. [26]

İHH previously sent packages containing flour, vegetables, oil and sugar to 350 families residing in Zewaya Dugda, one of the poorest regions in Ethiopia. The UN announced that around 6 million children in Ethiopia faced risk of acute under-nutrition and urged countries. [27]

After the earthquake in Indonesia, Doctors Worldwide and the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH). [28] İHH opened mosques, dug waterwells, distributed Qur’ans , organized iftars , aiding orphans and refugees in Darfur . [29]

In Gaza , the İHH is renovating the port, funding to Turkish-Palestinian school and plans to build a hospital for Gazans made homeless during the Gaza War . [30]

Collaboration with the United Nations

IHH has been involved with the United Nations in a number of ways. For example, The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, 44th Session of the Commission for Social Development and Contributed to the Panel Discussion for the eradication of poverty. The group has attended other meetings, including: [17]

  • The High Level Consultation and Workshop on Capacity-Building for the United Nations-Non-governmental Organization Informational Regional Network in Turkey (UN-NGO-IRENE / Turkey)
  • World Refugee Day Programs with the United Nations High Commissioner for

Refugees (UNHCR)

  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Preparations of Refugee Day Programs

Africa Cataract Project

African countries: Sudan, Somalia, Somalia, Chad, Niger, Togo, Benin, Gana, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Volunteer Turkish surgeons and nurses take part in the project to African countries for surgery. One of the objectives of the program is to offer free eye care for needy people. The Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency and Turkey’s Sudanese Ministries of Health are supporting the project. All surgeries are broadcast live on the project website and the IHH website. [31] [32]

In 2011, IHH worked with Turkish aid groups like Kimse Yok Mu, the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) and Doctors Worldwide in Somalia. IHH helped reach a total of 376,777 people. Relief efforts, totaling TL 2,420,612, included food and medicine distributions, digging 70 water wells, health screenings, fitr (alms) donations and iftars (fast-breaking meals). With regards to its work in Somalia, one worker said that “the İHH has already been working in Somalia for the last 15 years in the fields of education and social and medical care.As for the food crisis, the activities will continue for at least Another three years because of the drought has spread and it sounds like it is not over. He continued that ” in the form of a family and a family or a family and a family or a family or a family or a family or a family or a family and a family or a family. In addition, the HH offered medical examinations to 400 orphans and treated children with various diseases.[33]

Aid to Pakistan

In 2010, the ship Gazze set sail for Pakistan to deliver humanitarian aid to the affected people by floods in the country. The ship carries 3,000 tons of humanitarian supplies including, medicine, food, generators, clothes and tents. [34] [35]

In 2011, IHH worked with the Khubaib Foundation to distribute relief goods among 500 flood stricken families in Lakki Marwat, Southern District of Pakistan. Some of the items included 270 containers which contain both food and non-food items. This was among the clothes, shawls, footwear, and food items including rice, beans, canned food, power milk and children’s cereals that were also distributed. [36]

Libyan civil war 2011

In response to the humanitarian circumstances During 2011 Libyan civil war , IHH feels a cargo ship carrying nine containers, 141 tons of humanitarian aid Including medication, food packages, infant formula, milk powder, hygiene kits and clothing. [37] [38] The ship set sail from Turkey and dropped anchor in Malta.

Xinjiang conference

The IHH worked with the Istanbul Peace Platform to host a conference focused on China’s traditional Turkic Muslim region of Xinjiang and which aims to highlight the remote region’s problems in the wake of July 2009 communal clashes. Official government sources said nearly 200 people were killed and 1,600 wounded in July 2009 riots in Xinjiang’s capital, Ürümqi, in the worst ethnic unrest in China in decades. Beijing claimed the riots were orchestrated by overseas activists for Uighurs, historically Xinjiang’s largest ethnic group. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called for violence in Xinjiang “a kind of genocide.” [39]

Response to 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami

Further information: Reactions to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami

The IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation feels a rescue team of 5 to Japan. IHH deputy chairman Yaşar Kutluay said, “We feel our team to Japan, which has gone to Haiti to the earthquake and to Pakistan to the floods and to the recent developments. Our team will bring our system and search and rescue equipments. [40]

The IHH helped the team in Sendai which was most heavily devastated by the earthquake and took relief to around 5.000 people. Güzel said Sendai has turned into a disaster in the aftermath of the earthquake and has long been recovering from the tsunami. Güzel noted that the humanitarian crisis in Japan may deteriorate if international aid is not provided to the country. [41]

Freeing Czech tourists in Pakistan, March 2015

As reported on March 28, 2015, the IHH secured the release of two Czech tourists, Antonie Chrástecká and Hana Humpálová , following two months of intense negotiations. They were kidnapped near Taftan, Pakistan, by an al Qaeda-linked armed group on March 13, 2013, while traveling overland from Europe to India. [42]

IHH and the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid

Mavi Marmara with Turkish and Palestinian flags, campaign banner, and the text “This is a humanitarian aid ship” in Turkish, English, Arabic, and Hebrew.
Main article: Gaza flotilla raid

In January 2010, the Free Gaza Movement and İHH announced a joint venture to send troops to the Gaza strip in the spring of 2010, a flotilla to be joined by organizations from Greece, Ireland and Sweden. [43]

On 30 May 2010, a flotilla of six ships carrying 663 activists from 37 nations. [44] [45] The Stated intention of the Gaza flotilla, like things seized flotillas Organized by the Free Gaza Movement, Was to break through Israel ‘s blockade of the Gaza Strip and to deliver humanitarian supplies. [46] [47] The İHH spent more than $ 2 million on the ships. [48] İHH activists were set apart from other activists involved in the mission by a willingness to resist Israeli forces. [10]

On May 31, 2010, the Israel Defense Forces will check the ship’s cargo in Ashdod port, Israeli forces intercepted the fleet in the international waters. On the MV Mavi Marmara , one of the ships owned and operated by the IH, boarding Israeli forces cam under coordinated armed attack. In the clashes, nine activists killed Were (Eight Turkish nationals and a Turkish-American ), and Dozens of activists and seven Israeli commandos Were wounded. On three other ships, activists showed passive resistance, which was suppressed by Israeli forces without casualties, and two others were taken without incident. The activists were arrested and detained in Israel before being deported. Widespread international condemnation of the raid followed, Israel-Turkey relations were strained, Israel subsequently eased its blockade of the Gaza Strip, and Egypt lifted its blockade, opening its Rafah Border Crossing with the Gaza Strip. [49]

On 18 June 2010, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the video of a rally on board the Mavi Marmara the day before the raid in which the President President Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım declared to dozens of activists: “And we say: ‘If you [ Israel] send the commandos, we will be thrown to the front of the world as a whole, “we are participating participants singing” millions of martyrs marching to Gaza! ” [50]

In September 2011, a United Nations report, after analysis of both Turkey and Israeli national investigations, concluded that the Israeli blockade was legal, but that Israel used excessive force in this incident. The report also mentioned “serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH.” [UN Palmer Report 2011, p. 4.]

İHH abstained from the 2011 flotilla, citing outstanding damage to the Mavi Marmara.

In September 2011, Istanbul Deputy Public Prosecutor Ates Shasan Sozen Told the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman que la IHH APPROBATION and Submitted a list of 174 IDF soldiers to the Prosecutor’s Office. [51] [52]

Post-flotilla perceptions of IHH’s affiliations

Main article: Reactions to the Gaza flotilla raid

The flotilla event generates mixed perceptions of IHH. The group was described as a humanitarian [53] [54] [55] group and a charity following the flotilla event; [56] [57] However , the group was also challenged for alleged affiliations with organizations such as Hamas . [58] The allegations are arose after the raid simply because of the scale of the political fallout of the raid. [59]IHH maintained that the US $ 1 million (Dh3.7m) for victims of the earthquake Haiti, and we delivered our help in a church there. ” Other IHH officials said the organization is opposed to violence and relies on donations from the Turkish public, up to 80 percent of which comes from poor families. [59]

Some of the allegations included that IHH has been banned in Germany, that IHH has raised funds for jihadi fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, that French intelligence has documented calls between the group and an Al Qaeda boarding house in Milan, Italy, as Algerian activists in Europe, and that IHH reportedly played an important role in the Millennium bomb plot against LAX airport, Los Angeles. [60]

That IHH was banned in Germany later to be a mixup between the Turkish İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri and the banned German International Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation eV . The US government said it “can not validate” any relationship or connection between İHH and al-Qaeda. [61] Turkish authorities made no further efforts after the raid regarding support for Bosnian, Chechen and Afghan fighters [59] and IHH replied that there was an acquittal in the court case and nothing ever came of the charges. [62] Testimony regarding IHH and the Millennium bomb plot was thrown out by a judge because it would necessarily be based upon hearsay. [63]

Status in Western nations

  •  European Union The European Commission has said that “the IHH of Germany by the German Ministry of the Interior”, IHH Turkey issued a statement in which it claims to be to the Germany-based IHH organization. German Embassy in Ankara. ” [64] In 2010 in the Camera dei Deputati , a group of deputies led by Il Popolo della Libertà (PdL) member Fiamma Nirenstein sought for the Turkish İHH to be added to the European Union’s list of terrorist entities. [65] The group included Nirenstein’s PdL colleagues and one Lega Nord deputy, Massimo Polledri. [65]However, the European Commission has said that it is an independent NGO active in the field of humanitarian aid and operating in a country in which it does not have any information about IHH involvement in the Occupied Palestinian Territory . [64]
  •  Israel In 2008 Israel became the first country to the organization, [66] and on 16 June 2010, Israel added İHH to its terror watch list. [67] The Christian Science Monitor Noted Israel Was the only country to-have banned the organization as of 2010. [68]
  •  United States Although a bipartisan group of 87 US Senators (out of 100) sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling on the list of foreign terrorist organizations, [69] İHH is not designated as a terrorist group by the US State Department . [61] [70] US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, “It’s a long process to designate a foreign terrorist organization and … there’s nothing to announce on that.” [69] A US State Department spokesman also said the US government “can not validate” any relationship or connection between İHH and al-Qaeda. [61] Michael Werz, a senior fellow at theCenter for American Progress said “the White House has been quiet on the issue and the State Department has made a statement to the design group [as an FTO].” [71]

Response from IHH

An IHH board member responded to the Los Angeles Times that provides information on 100 countries. It has been established that it does not have any affiliation with its affiliates, and that it does not affect its ability to provide food and medicine. Those who “accuse us of killing innocent victims,” said Ali Cihangir, an IHH board member, referring to the Israeli Mavi Marmara raid on the Turkish activists dead. “There are political reasons countries are saying this about us.” [72]

Involvement with Muslim Brotherhood and Syria

According to the Times , Free Syrian Army orders said that a boat carrying weapons was “in the dock  and “was registered to members of the IHH, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood” . Samar Srewel, an FSA activist, told The Times : “It was clear from what second what was happening. The Muslim Brotherhood, through its islands in Turkey, was seizing control of this ship and the cargo. This is what they do. They buy influence with their money and guns. ” [73] [74]

On March 18, 2016, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin sent a letter to the UN Security Council saying that the Turkish humanitarian organizations (NGOs) sent weapons and supplies to extremists in Syria on behalf of Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency during the Syrian Civil War . The three NGOs were the Besar Foundation, the Iyilikder Foundation and the Human Rights and Freedoms Foundation (IHH). [75]

Turkish Police Raid

Anadolu Agency reported that two employees of IHH, were detained for alleged links to al-Qaeda, in a Turkish anti-terrorism police raids on 13 January 2014. IHH spokesman said that police investigated its office in Kilis, near the border with Syria, and detained one of its employees. Another IHH employee was detained in Kayseri after a police raid at his home. [76]

Political activities in Turkey

The IHH has repeatedly supported the (re-) conversion of the Hagia Sophia , a Christian Cathedral which was converted into a Mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul and is now a Museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in a Mosque, and in 2015 IHH organized in Istanbul, in an effort to support its cause. [77]

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