How Islamic “Aid” Organizations in Turkey Feed Jihadists in Syria

Turkish police recently raided the homes of, and detained, more than a dozen nationals suspected of “joining conflicts in Syria, providing logistics and money, and recruiting for [terrorist] organizations.”

By Uzay Bulut
SOURCE: The Gatestone Institute

Four days after the raids, which were carried out on January 13, all thirteen detainees were released — eleven of them pending trial and the other two on judicial control. The Turkish government-run Anadolu Agency, which reported on the detentions, later removed the story from its website and social media pages.

Among the detainees was Hasan Süslü, president of the NGO Fukara-Der (Aid and Solidarity Association for the Poor), suspected of aiding Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) — a coalition of al Qaeda-affiliated groups, formerly known as the al Nusra Front, and currently the dominant jihadist force in Idlib in northern Syria.

Ankara says it wants to establish a “buffer zone” around Idlib to prevent a Syrian government attack on the country’s last major jihadi-held area. The raids and brief detentions of HTS suspects in Turkey came three days after HTS reportedly “sealed its grip on northern Idlib. HTS signed a ceasefire with what was left of a rival alliance that sees it confirm its supremacy and unites the region under a jihadist-led administration.”

According to analyst Sam Heller from the International Crisis Group, now HTS “can present itself to Turkey and others as an indispensable interlocutor in any non-military solution to Idlib.”

The police raids and brief detentions of HTS suspects in Turkey, then, could be a warning to the jihadists “not to bite the hand that feeds them” — the “hand” being those organizations in Turkey, including Fukara-Der, that have been providing aid to northern Syria for years.

Fukara-Der was established in 2013 in southern Turkey, near the Syrian border. The NGO claims to provide “humanitarian aid” to Syrians, but there are strong suspicions that it is also providing logistical support, goods and services to terrorist groups.

“We get most of our donations from abroad through the bank accounts we share on social media,” Fukara-Der’s president Süslü said in a 2014 interview. “And most of the donations are from the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.”

These donations and Fukara-Der’s other activities in Europe — such as its cooperation with “Care For Others” of Denmark, BabyCare, the Rotterdam “All for Life” foundation and Ibaadu Ar-Rahmaan of the Netherlands — have come under increased scrutiny. CONTINUE READING THE INTERESTING ARTICLE