Internal Turkish criticism of the Islamic regime for enabling Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to conduct political-propaganda activity on Turkish soil and sway public opinion against Israel and the West.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan

IHH website, May 23, 2010

IHH website, May 23, 2010

Walid al-Tabatibai

Walid al-Tabatibai

Sheikh al-Hazmi photographed during the voyage of the movement.

Sheikh al-Hazmi photographed during the voyage of the movement.

Main points of the critical article in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News

1. On June 5, 2010, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News printed an article strongly criticizing the ruling Turkish AKP (Justice and Development  Party), attacking the Turkish regime for allowing Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to conduct political-propaganda activities on Turkish soil (For the full text of the article see Appendix I). The secular Hurriyet Daily News is the most widely-read paper in Turkey and belongs to a newspaper conglomerate which has been pressured by Erdogan’s regime. The author of the column, Soner Cagaptay, is the Hurriyet Daily News American correspondent. He is a senior research fellow at the Washington Institute and directs its Turkish Research Program.

2. The article criticizes the AKP party for spreading anti-Israeli, anti-Western sentiments during its years in power, in addition to violating Turkey’s freedom of the press. According to the article, its policies are manifested by the spread of hate propaganda against both targets. It notes that under AKP rule Turkey has begun regularly hosting Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas’ parent organization) conferences on its soil. The conferences have helped turn Hamas’ violent struggle against Israel and its ideology into part of Turkey’s daily political debate.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan
April 17, 2010, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan receives an honorary PhD from the Hamas-controlled Islamic University in the Gaza Strip. The ceremony took place at the prime minister’s home in Ankara. Present were Jamal al-Khudari, president of the university’s board of trustees (who is also a Hamas activist and chairman of the Popular Committee to Lift the Siege of the Gaza Strip) and Kamalain Shaath, university president (Islamic University website).

3. In concrete terms the article states that in the past three years Hamas has held seven conferences and fundraisers in Istanbul:

A. The first was held in July 2006 and was attended by Muslim Brotherhood ideological leaders from Egypt and other countries, including Sheikh Yussuf al-Qardawi, who entitled it "Muslims in Europe" (al-Qardawi is an Egyptian sheikh with a high Muslim religious standing. He lives in Qatar and is ideologically affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. He founded the Union of Good, which supports Hamas.) According to the article, his visit to Turkey was paid for by the British Foreign Office. During the conference Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood discussed Muslims in Europe, exposing the Turkish people and European Muslims to Hamas and its radical ideology.

B. Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood also held a conference in November 2007 entitled "Jerusalem Day." It was organized by the Association of Turkish Volunteer Organizations (TGTV), an organization close to the AKP, and the Islamic Association of Muslim World Nongovernmental Organizations. The conference called for "liberating Jerusalem through jihad from the Zionists."

C. Other conferences followed in February, April, May  and July 2009, and their frequency has been steadily increasing. The conferences have begun espousing Hamas’ violent agenda, an example of which was the one in February, which called for a jihad centered in the Gaza Strip (See Appendix II). In April the "Al-Aqsa Mosque Symposium" was held, which called for the "liberation" of the Al-Aqsa mosque, through violence if necessary. It was organized by a Turkish organization called the Istanbul Peace Platform (IPP), which includes a number of NGOs close to the AKP. In May the "Palestine Collaboration Conference" was held, which called for "continued resistance to liberate Palestine." It was attended by Osama Hamdan, Hamas’ representative in Lebanon.


4. Since the beginning of 2009 Turkey has played host to intensive radical Islamic activity, different from what was familiar in the past, with the involvement of Hamas and activists affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

5. A conference held on February 14-15, 2009, was particularly prominent and attended by 200 activists and clerics from the Arab-Muslim world and Muslim communities in Western countries, many of them identifying with the radical Islamic ideology advocated by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Ninety of them signed a jihadist document called "The Istanbul Declaration," which called for every Muslim to fulfill his religious duty of jihad and "resistance" against Israel ("the Zionist Jewish occupiers"). The conference also called for supporting jihad and the "resistance" with money, weapons, clothing, food, medical equipment and other materials (The full text of the declaration and the signers’ names appear in Appendix II).

6. The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent movement, was well represented among the passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara. Its activists were prominent among both the Arab and Western delegations, for example from Arab countries such as Jordan and Egypt (where the Muslim Brotherhood is in the opposition) and Western countries such as Britain (where the Muslim Brotherhood spearheads the campaign to smear and delegitimize Israel). Two of the Mavi Marmara passengers were radical Islamic activists who also signed the Istanbul Declaration (Dr. Walid al-Tabatibai from Kuwait and Sheikh Muhammad bin Nasr al-Hazmi from Yemen, photographed on board the ship brandishing a dagger.) Another senior Hamas-Muslim Brotherhood activist, Mahmoud Sawalha, who lives in Britain and participated in planning the flotilla, did not join it (in our assessment, fearing he might fall into the hands of the Israeli security forces.) 

IHH website, May 23, 2010
The ceremony before the Mavi Marmara sailed for the Gaza Strip.
Fourth from left, front row, Muhammad Sawalha (wearing a gray suit),

who did not board the ship (IHH website, May 23, 2010).

Walid al-Tabatibai
Walid al-Tabatibai waving a shoe in condemnation of Mahmoud Abbas. In the background are a picture of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and the emblem of the Salafit
  Sheikh al-Hazmi photographed during the voyage of the movement.
Sheikh al-Hazmi photographed during the voyage of the movement.

7. On July 7, 2010, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV reported that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan called Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to express his condolences at the death of the movement’s spiritual leader Fadlallah. Nasrallah reportedly praised Erdogan for his stance.

Appendix I

The AKP’s Hamas Policy: "Us vs. Them"

by Soner Cagaptay
Hurriyet Daily News
July 5, 2010

At home, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has promoted the Islamist mindset of "us Muslims" in conflict with "the bad others" through the media and also by spreading Hamas’ views throughout Turkey, whether through official Hamas visits to Turkey or through AKP-supported conferences and fundraisers.

Recent changes in media ownership in Turkey under the AKP are closely related to the spread of anti-Western sentiments in the country. Turkey is a country with free media. Media independence in Turkey, however, is increasingly under threat.

The Turkish media remains free (in that it is not illegal to produce journalism), but the AKP is trying to curb media freedoms by transforming media ownership through legal loopholes. Such was the case in December 2005 when the AKP took over the Sabah-ATV conglomerate, which represents around 20% of the Turkish media market, selling this conglomerate to a media company of which Turkish Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak is the CEO.

The AKP has also brought a $3.2 billion tax fine against Dogan Yayin, a conglomerate that owns around 50 percent of the Turkish media. This excessive fine exceeds Dogan’s total net worth—is political, because Dogan’s news outlets promote secular, liberal and nationalist views that often criticize of the AKP.

The transformation of the Turkish media is not an esoteric issue, for it affects the future of Turkish democracy and also has a bearing on Turkish views of the world.

Where there is no independent media—as in Russia—there is simply no viable opposition to government. Whenever Turkey goes through a political spasm, analysts warn of the collapse of Turkey’s democracy. Despite this, Turkey has survived numerous crises in the past thanks to the balancing power of its fourth pillar.

As Turkish media becomes less free, there is a higher likelihood that it will become a tool for the government with which to shape an anti-Western public opinion. What is bad for secular liberal western Turks is bad for the West. Turkey’s free media needs to remain free because if it is all either state-owned or owned by pro-AKP businesses, anti-Western and anti-Israeli viewpoints will spread through the media, which we have been witnessing since 2002.

A recent show on Turkey’s publicly-funded Turkish Radio Television, or TRT, network is a perfect example. The debut of the series, entitled "Ayrilik" (Separation), came on the heels of Turkey’s cancellation of Israeli participation in the Anatolian Eagle exercises. TRT, whose head is appointed by the AKP, and which is entirely funded by Turkish taxpayer money, ran "Ayrilik," a show with an anti-Israeli stance, including one which depicts an imagined situation in the Palestinian territories where a newborn baby is intentionally killed by Israeli soldiers.

What do 18-year-old Turks think of Israel now? They hate it, and they will do so because of images depicted in shows like "Ayrilik." These are the images they have been seeing for the last seven years and this is what they’ll continue seeing. A Turk who has come of age under the AKP is now more likely than not to hate Israel and the West after seven years of such propaganda. Unlike Turks now in their forties or older who came of political age in a different Turkey, younger Turks in their twenties and thirties have more radical and negative views of the West as a result of what they see in government-controlled media as well as media owned by pro-government businesses.

Through Conferences

While government-controlled media promotes an evil image of the Israelis, international Hamas conferences in Turkey build legitimacy for Hamas and other extensions of the International Muslim Brotherhood movement. Before the AKP came to power, Turkey had never hosted a Hamas conference. Now, such conferences render the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood agenda more accessible to Turks, making Hamas’ violent struggle against Israel a part of daily political debate in Turkey.

In the last three years alone, there have been seven Hamas conferences and fundraisers in Istanbul. The first one of these, held in July 2006 and attended by one of the spiritual leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, was given the title "Muslims in Europe." Qaradawi’s visit was funded by the British Foreign Office, and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood came to talk about Muslims in Europe, exposing Turks and European Muslims to Hamas and its ideology.

The list continues: other Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood conferences in Turkey include a November, 2007 conference called "Jerusalem Day," co-organized by nongovernmental organization the Association of Turkish Volunteer Organizations, or TGTV, close to the AKP and Islamic Association of Muslim World Nongovernmental Organizations, or IDSB. This conference, entitled "Jerusalem Day," called for "liberating Jerusalem through jihad from the Zionists."

Other conferences followed in February 2009, April 2009, May 2009, and July 2009. What is interesting is that the frequency of these conferences has been steadily increasing, with four such meetings alone held in 2009.

Moreover, these meetings have started to espouse a violent agenda. For instance, at the February 2009 conference, Hamas members called for a jihad centered on Gaza. The April 2009 meeting was a "Masjid al-Aqsa symposium" which called to "liberate Masjid al-Aqsa" and it was organized by the Istanbul Peace Platform, or IBP, which includes a number of NGOs close to the AKP. The symposium called on all Muslims to liberate al-Aqsa through violence, if necessary, and also claimed that Israel has plans to demolish it. The "Palestine Collaboration Conference" in May 2009 called for "continued resistance to liberate Palestine." Conference participants included former Sudanese President Mushir Sivar Ez-Zeheb, President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars Yousef al-Qaradawi, and Hamas Representative and Spokesman in Lebanon Usame Hamdan. In his speech at this conference, AKP deputy Zeyd Aslan said that Israel "commits genocide in Palestine."

On the other hand, the "Environment Conference" in July 2009 was organized by the Earth Centre of Dialogue Partners in cooperation with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the city of Istanbul, and the Fatih University in Istanbul. The conference, attended by al-Qaradawi, concluded with the declaration of a seven-year-action plan on climate change. The conference also served as platform to bring Hamas and MB members to Istanbul.

These conferences are organized by NGOs close to the AKP government. Although they appear to be civil society initiatives, the meetings are held in city halls of Istanbul or convention centers under the control of the AKP city government, which in essence means that taxpayer funds help pay for these events.

Appendix II

The Istanbul Declaration and its Signers1
(February 14-15, 2009

In the name of Allah the Most-merciful the All-merciful

A statement by the religious scholars and proselytizers (du’a) of the Islamic Nation (ummah) to all rulers and peoples concerning events in Gaza

Praise to Allah who strengthened His troops, aided His servants and alone routed the Zionist Jews, who says,

"It was incumbent on Us to aid the believers." [Qur’an 30:47]

And blessing and peace be on the Imam of the mujahidin who says,

‘There will remain a group of my Ummah adhering to the truth, and those who oppose them will not harm them until Allah’s command comes.’ [Hadith]

(And now to our topic).

This statement is addressed to the Islamic Nation, its religious scholars, its rulers and its peoples. In it we congratulate the whole family of Islam on the manifest victory which Allah has granted us in the land of Gaza, a land of pride and dignity, over the Zionist Jewish occupiers. Allah has appointed it as the first step in the complete victory for all of Palestine and the holy places of the Muslims. Furthermore, we herein emphatically affirm various resolutions and judgments.

I. Affirmation of the following unequivocal resolutions:

1. We affirm that the victory that Allah accomplished by means of our brothers the mujahidin, our defiant and steadfast kinsfolk in Gaza, was indeed achieved through His favor and help — exalted be He! It was also achieved through fulfilling the religious obligation of jihad in His way. This is a confirmation of His statement — sublime is He! – "How often a small party overcame a large party, by Allah’s leave." [Qur’an, 2:249]

2. We affirm that this manifest victory has clearly disclosed the volume of international and local military and political conspiracy against the jihad and the mujahidin in Gaza, as represented by the following:

• Military co-operation in tightening the blockade and closing the crossings to the people of Gaza, especially the Rafah crossing.

• Public or quasi-public support for the enemy.

• The prevention of demonstrations and popular events held in support of the mujahidin; the arrest, trial and severe punishments of those who instigate them.

• The aggressive pressure put on the mujahidin to break their will and force them to agree to their [the conspirators] terms and the stipulations of the Zionist enemy.

• The attempt to present the Hamas government as the cause of this malicious Jewish Zionist war over Gaza.

• The absence of any official and effective Arab and Islamic stance and its weakness in reflecting the will of the Arab and Islamic peoples to help our brothers in Gaza win. This indicates the width of the gap between the Nation and those rulers who lead it.

• The use of funds for reconstruction and aid to those hurt as a negative pressure card on the mujahidin to abandon their legitimate demands, or some of them.

• The prevention of delivery of aid and reconstruction funds to the Hamas government and the reliable authorities in Gaza; deeming the Palestinian Authority, represented by the presidency of Abbas and the Fayyad government, the sole representative of the Palestinian people, without the Hamas government; and the delivery of such funds and aid to increase their grip on the legitimate elected government of Hamas. This redoubles the suffering of the people of Gaza at the time they mostly need those funds and aid.

3. We affirm in full conviction that the Palestinian Authority, whose mandate is coming to an end, is not eligible to represent the Palestinian people. It stands outside the will of its people, and has given up the choice of jihad in the way of Allah Almighty as an effective means in defeating the occupation and the liberation of the Islamic holy places. It adopts the wishes of the Nation’s enemies in exchange for the illusions of false peace.

4. We affirm in full conviction that the so-called Arab peace initiative is a proven betrayal of the Islamic Nation and the Palestinian cause, and a blatant betrayal of the Palestinian people. It aims to criminalize the Resistance [muqawama] against the Zionist occupying entity in perpetuity through its de facto recognition of it, as well as the confiscation of the right of refugees to return to their homes and their property.

II. Affirmation of the following legal judgments:

1. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to rush to the aid of the people in Gaza; to rebuild what the Zionist aggression destroyed; to compensate the injured and support the widows, orphans, those suffering permanent disabilities, and the old and infirm.

2. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to restrict itself to dealing only with the legitimate elected Palestinian government (Hamas) in the delivery of aid and reconstruction of dwellings. It is the sole government authorized to do that by reason of its official legitimacy as well as its maintaining the Resistance against the Jewish Zionist occupation, its integrity, and its solidarity with the people in all circumstances.

3. The obligation of the Islamic Nation not to recognize the Palestinian Authority, whose mandate is ending, as representative of the Palestinian people. It must not elect it again, in view of its proven financial and administrative corruption as well as its squandering of time and assets behind the false peace process. It is also necessary to work seriously to choose a new authority that will guard the Palestinian ranks, respect their will and their right to resist the occupation, and work for the complete liberation of its land and holy places.

4. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to circulate a declaration to withhold aid funds from the undeserving or placing them in the hands of those who are not trustworthy. It must regard this as a legal betrayal that should be prosecuted, and punish those who cause mayhem, negligence and waste of these moneys.

5. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to find a fair formula of reconciliation between the sons of the Palestinian people, under whose responsibility a legitimate authority will be formed that will attend to the fixed norms and the legitimate and national rights; and will carry on with the jihad and Resistance against the occupier until the liberation of all Palestine.

6. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to open the crossings — all crossings — in and out of Palestine permanently, in order to allow access to all the needs of the Palestinians — money, clothing, food, medicine, weapons and other essentials, so that they are able to live and perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty. The closure of the crossings or the prevention of the entry of weapons through them should be regarded as high treason in the Islamic Nation, and clear support for the Zionist enemy.

7. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard everyone standing with the Zionist entity, whether countries, institutions or individuals, as providing a substantial contribution to the crimes and brutality of this entity; the position towards him is the same as towards this usurping entity.

8. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard the sending of foreign warships into Muslim waters, claiming to control the borders and prevent the smuggling of arms to Gaza, as a declaration of war, a new occupation, sinful aggression, and a clear violation of the sovereignty of the Nation. This must be rejected and fought by all means and ways. To conclude: the Nation’s scholars and proselytizers remind the Islamic Nation, rulers and ruled alike, of the necessity of returning to its religion, adhering to the book of its Lord and the sunna of his Prophet, working for its unity, and seizing control of the instruments of power that will make possible its supremacy and the preservation of its holy places and provisions

‘Allah prevails in his purpose, but most people know not.’ [Quran, 12: 21]).

The Signatories

As presented in the Declaration:

1) Sheikh Ahmad Sulaiman Ahif, Yemen

2) Dr. Ahmad al-Ghamidi, Saudi Arabia

3) Dr. Ahmad al-Misbahi, Yemen

4) Sheihk Ahmad abdul Razzaq al-Raqihi, Yemen

5) Proselytizer [da’iya] Ahmad Muhammad Abdullah, Egypt

6) Sheikh Isma’il Abdul Bari, Yemen

7) Sheikh Isma’il Uthman Muhammad, Sudan

8) Dr. Amin Ali Muqbil, Yemen

9) Proselytizer Al-Amin Karkush, Algeria

10) Sheikh Bilal Baroudi, Lebanon

11) Proselytizer Tawarim Kishlakci, Turkey

12) Dr. Harith Sulaiman al-Dhari [Iraq]

13) Dr. Hakim al-Matiri, Kuwait

14) Proselytizer Hasan Salem Hasan, Qatar

15) Proselytizer Khalid al-Dhahir, Lebanon

16) Proselytizer Khalil Asi, Denmark

17) Proselytizer Daud Abdullah, Britain

18) Sheikh Raed al-Jabouri, Iraq

19) Sheikh Rachid al-Ghannouchi, Tunisia [resides in Britain]

20) Proselytizer Ribhi Subhi al-Atiwi, Jordan

21) Proselytizer Rabi Haddad, Lebanon

22) Dr. Sami Muhammad Saleh

23) Proselytizer Sami Najid Sa’id, Jordan

24) Dr. Shafi al-Hajiri, Qatar

25) Dr. Shaker Tawfiq al-Adouri, Jordan

26) Proselytizer Shah Jahan Abdul Qayyum, Britain

27) Dr. Shawkat Karashji, Kosovo

28) Sheikh Safwan Murshid, Yemen

29) Sheikh Salah Nasr al-Bahr, Yemen

30) Dr. Adel Hasan Yusuf al-Hamad, Bahrain

31) Sheikh Arif bin Ahmad al-Sabri, Yemen

32) Sheikh Abbas Ahmad al-Nahari

33) Sheikh Abdul Hai Yusuf, Sudan

34) Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Khamisi, Yemen

35) Proselytizer Abdul Rahman Abdullah Jami’an, Kuwait

36) Dr. Abdul Salam Daud al-Kubaisi, Iraq

37) Dr. Abdul Samid al-Radhi, Morocco

38) Dr. Abdul Aziz Kamel, Egypt

39) Dr. Abdul Ali Masul, Morocco

40) Proselytizer Abdul Fattah Hamdash, Algeria

41) Dr. Abdul Karim al-Sheikh, Sudan

42) Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad al-Adini, Yemen

43) Sheikh Abdullah Hasan Khayrat, Yemen

44) Sheikh Abdullah Faysal al-Ahdal, Yemen

45) Sheikh Abdul Majid bin Muhammad al-Rimi, Yemen

46) Sheikh Abdul Malik al-Wazir, Yemen

47) Sheikh Abdil Wahid al-Khamisi, Yemen

48) Sheikh Abdul Wahhab al-Hamiqani, Yemen

49) Dr. Abdul Wahhab bin Lutf al-Dulaimi, Yemen

50) Proselytizer Izz al-Din Jarafa bin Muhammad, Algeria

51) Proselytizer Azzam al-Ayyubi, Lebanon

52) Dr. Ali Muhammad Maqboul al-Ahdal

53) Proselytiser Imad al-Din Bakri, Sudan

54) Proselytiser Imad Sa’ad, Iraq

55) Sheikh Omar Sulaiman al-Ashqar, Palestine

56) Proselytiser Faris Muhammad, Denmark

57) Sheikh Latif al-Sa’idi, Britain

58) Dr. Muhsin al-Awaji, Saudi Arabia

59) Proselytizer Muhammad al-Khalid, Denmark

60) Sheikh Muhammd al-Sadiq Mughlas, Yemen

61) Prof. Muhammad al-Ani, Britain

62) Proselytizer Muhammad al-Ghanim, Saudi Arabia

63) Proselytizer Muhammad al-Mufrih, Saudi Arabia

64) Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad al-Wazir, Yemen

65) Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa al-Amiri, Yemen

66) Sheikh Muhammad bin Nasr al-Hazmi, Yemen

67) Dr. Muhammad Juhaid Bu Aynain

68) Dr. Muhammad Ahmad Abdullah, Bahrain

69) Proselytizer Muhammad Khalid Muwasi, Palestine

70) Proselytizer Muhammad Salem al-Ali

71) Sheikh Muhammad Sa’ad al-Hatami, Yemen

72) Proselytizer Muhammad Sawalha, Palestine [resides in Britain]

73) Sheikh Muhammad Abdul Karim al-Da’is, Yemen

74) Sheikh Muhammad Abdul Karim Abu Faris

75) Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah al-Ghubaisi, Yemen

76) Sheikh Muhammad Ali al-Anasi, Yemen

77) Sheikh Muhammad Ali Mir’i, Yemen

78) Dr. Muhammad Magdi Krekar, Egypt

79) Sheikh Mudashir Ahmad Isma’il, Sudan

80) Sheikh Murad Ahmad al-Qudsi, Yemen

81) Dr. Mustafa al-Rif, Morocco

82) Proselytizer Nasser al-Fadhala, Bahrain

83) Dr. Nasser Jasim al-Sani, Kuwait

84) Proselytizer Nasif Nasser, Palestine

85) Proselytizer Nadhir Alan, Turkey

86) Sheikh Huza bin Sa’ad al-Asouri, Yemen

87) Dr. Hamam Sa’id, Jordan

88) Dr. Walid Musa’id al-Tabatibai, Kuwait

89) Proselytizer Yusuf al-Jababili, Tunisia

90) Proselytizer Yusuf Muhammad al-Barahimi 

[Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center emphasis throughout]