Terrorists on the Mavi Marmara
Terrorists on the Mavi MarmaraIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Officials with the Turkish Islamist group IHH denied on Friday claims that an official investigation has been launched against IHH President Bülent Yıldırım over alleged links to al-Qaeda.

Turkish media outlets reported earlier that Yıldırım has been accused of secretly funding the terrorist group. Two Turkish special prosecutors are conducting separate probes into the allegations, the report said.

Osman Atalay, an IHH board member, told the Turkish-based Today’s Zaman in response, “Mr. Yıldırım has not been summoned to testify or served any court document. We have not received any official information regarding an investigation. The newspaper hasn’t been able to provide any documented proof as to such an investigation either.”

Today’s Zaman reported that the IHH also announced, through its official Twitter account, that the reporter from the Turkish Habertürk daily who wrote the story stated that prosecutors and police officials had refuted it.

In 2010, the IHH funded a flotilla aimed at breaking Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. Dozens of far-left American and European activists joined the cause.

One of the boats in the flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, refused to turn aside when ordered to, attempting instead to break the blockade by force. When IDF soldiers boarded the ship they were violently attacked. Soldiers opened fire in response, killing nine Turkish activists.

The incident caused Israel’s relationship with Turkey, already strained, to break down completely. Turkish leaders demanded an apology, but Israeli leaders refused, saying Israel had acted in self-defense.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)