Insani Yardim Vakfi in Turkish “The Islamic Humanitarian Help Foundation” (in German – International Humanitaire Hilfsorganization) known generally as IHH was formed in Turkey in 1992 by a member of the Turkish Refah Party and formally registered in Istanbul in 1995, with its main offices in Zagreb and Sarajevo and headquarters in Germany.
The foundation was initially formed to support the Bosnian Muslims against the Christian Serbs in the civil war in Yugoslavia which was largely an ethnic and religious conflict. The Bosnian Muslims had and have long historical ties with Turkey since the Ottoman Empire.
Already in 1996 the IHH was identified by the USA as having connections with extremist groups in Iran and Algeria as part of 15 organizations employing members or otherwise facilitating the activities of terrorist groups operating in Bosnia.
In 12/1997, in a police raid in Istanbul on IHH’s offices, police uncovered weapons and explosives. From documents recovered in the search the organization was supporting terror activity in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya.
Today (05/2010) IHH is operating, in cooperation with other Islamic charities in over 100 countries, many of them in Africa, and is conducting many humanitarian operations among the needy in the Muslim world.
IHH is a member of the Union of Good, an umbrella organization of more than 50 Islamic funds and foundations around the globe, channels money into Hamas institutions in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories and since the Hamas took over Gaza Strip, in summer 2007, IHH support mainly the Hamas institutions and activity in Gaza Strip. IHH, which has become an important factor in global fund-raising for Hamas, transfers significant amounts of money to Hamas institutions in Judea and Samaria, including the Islamic Charitable Society in Hebron and the Al-Tadhamun Charitable Society in Nablus (Hamas’ two central “charitable societies,” both outlawed by Israel).
The secular regime in Turkey distanced itself from IHH Islamic activity but since 2002 and the Islamic regime of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the relations between the Turkish administration and IHH became very close (see –Turkish Radicalization). The growing rift with Israel even tightened the relations to the degree that a so-called humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza Strip was organized by IHH with the full diplomatic support and backup of the Turkish government in 05/2010. They rejected any suggestion or offer, made by Israel, to transfer the aid and supplys through Israel or any other international recognized organization such as the Red Cross or the UN.
* Nine activists of the organization and volunteers were killed when they attacked with knifes and iron poles Israeli Naval commando who tried to board the Turkish ship “Mavi Marmara”, on 05/31/2010 dawn, and diverted it to the Israeli Ashdod Harbor, just 30 Km North of Gaza Strip.