A news conference was held at IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation headquarters before the departure of a third convoy to Syria with the name “Pulse of Life to Syria.”
Speaking at the news conference, IHH President Yıldırım said: “We are together today for the departure of the third aid convoy. There is a touching picture here. We came together, as representatives from 36 civil society organizations, and are making a new move. For 300 years, people from the Islamic world are displaced from their homes, they are jailed or killed. Now, it is the time to make a plan. We need to see our friends and enemies. This meeting is a step taken to this effect.”
Noting that they resist against three powers, Yıldırım said:
“We resist against al-Assad regime in Syria, against Sisi in Egypt and against Israel in Palestine. There are efforts to lynch Turkey which sends aid to these regions. In their efforts, they use the international capital and their legionaries in Turkey but we have the power to beat all of them. God willing, we will see the liberation of these lands soon. Oh Muslims, we should unite not only as 36 civil society organizations but 36,000. In the wake of the lynching campaign against Turkey, they should come to Turkey for support.”
When asked by a reporter: “It is said that there are problems in the transfer of aid to Syria. Is this true? There were some civil society organizations which were closed down in Egypt yesterday, has any of your partners also been closed?” Yıldırım said: “We have the means to take aid to every part of Syria. There are difficulties. The Syrian regime and some groups which I don’t think work for the benefit of Syrian people create problems. But how is aid taken to a region? If you overcome all challenges and take aid to people in need, then yours is a real aid organization. So, thanks God, all the roads are open for us. We have experience on this issue since the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Thankfully, Mr. Tayfun and other groups help us. The newly-established Islamic front gives us big support in particular.”
Yıldırım said closure of some foundations in Egypt has not saddened him very much, adding that this situation has revealed the real face of the coup perpetrators in Egypt.
He said as long as such moves continue, the people of Egypt will be against coup perpetrators, adding: “They are doing the same thing against some of our partners. But we describe an aid organization as air or water which finds a means at all costs to take relief to people.”
Bribery and corruption allegations
Yıldırım was also asked about his views concerning an ongoing corruption and bribery investigation in Turkey. “Will this situation have reflections for IHH and how?” a reporter asked.
“We see this operation as having links with the support Turkey gives to Syria and Palestine. We believe that international powers and the international capital are behind this operation. We think legionary groups in Turkey support this operation. Is there anyone in this country who does not want to fight against corruption? The government also wants to fight against corruption because it received the support of the 50 percent of the nation. Is it ever possible for a government which has received so much public support to approve of corruption? It is actually those who prepared the corruption dossiers and kept them in their hands as tools of blackmail for 6-7 months who have actually been involved in corruption.”
“If there is really corruption in question, why did they wait for 6-7 months to reveal these accusations?” Yıldırım asked, adding: “You know support for Syria, Palestine increases today. Israel has taken action just before Geneva meeting where Turkey will defend the rights of Syrian people. If you pay attention, they are trying to make a deal about the Mavi Marmara case. In the meantime, efforts are made in and outside Turkey to reconcile relations with Israel. They are trying to place the government in a tough spot in Turkey. I am appealing to everyone from here, we should never trust Israel. Agreements could be made and the relations might be restored but neither Israel, nor imperialist forces or their national collaborators will approve of the current government. There is only one way which is to take side with the right side. If this stance is taken, everyone will win. So, this operation has its roots abroad. In the meantime, if there is any corruption, it should be revealed. However, some evidence which has been revealed so far has turned out to be inaccurate or fabricated. As IHH, we do not believe in corruption allegations until they are proven.”
“They pressed the button for an operation against IHH”
“They pressed on the button in order to detain some IHH members and also carry out an operation against IHH, this is the information we received,” Yıldırım said.
Noting that such an action has not been taken so far, he said: “What they tell us is that they have video footage in their hands. Whose video footage is it? We are just sitting here… Footage showing us in the conference here and outside and those in Syria. They say: “There is video footage showing you with armed men in Syria.” What is strange about this? If you dare to do it, go to Syria and deliver aid. Certainly, we will have security guards while delivering aid. We have dialogue with the groups in every region we go in order to receive their support while delivering aid.”
Recalling that they went to Damascus for the swap of prisoners, Yıldırım explained: “We went to police department. There is video footage showing us there. Does this mean we have become pro-Assad? They say this. So, I say this very clearly we never believe in any footage, photograph or dossier revealed by some members of the police and the judiciary without a thorough examination. We don’t believe in their accuracy and we think those who reveal them are in collaboration with international intelligence organizations.”
Recalling that people from many countries took part in Mavi Marmara, Yıldırım said: “What do they tell us? They say Turkey is recalled with two things in Europe and the United States. It is so embarrassing that they brought the country into such a situation. I cannot even say what they are. One of them is corruption while the other one of inappropriate videos. Can you believe in the situation the country has fallen into? They will definitely give an accounting of this, the only issue is Syria. Let me also say this, they made a proposal about Syria issue. We did not accept those proposals. There are international powers which want to carry out the same operation against us. But as IHH, we have taken all the necessary measures and with God’s permission, we are not afraid of anything.”
“I did not curse Netanyahu’s children”
To another question asking: “It is as if there is a rift between the Hizmet movement and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, what are your views on this?”
He said: “One of them is a political party, mistakes could be made in politics. But the movement works for spread of Islam, so it should not get out of this domain. Whoever meddles in politics, they will have trouble. It is impossible for us to approve of the latest curses [made by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen]. I will say something, please take note of this. I swear I never cursed Netanyahu’s children. I did not curse the children of Israeli soldiers who hit us. Somebody who is known as an Islamic scholar in the world and we all respect has become someone who can curse the children and family of the leader of a country. May God forgive all of us. It is time to ask for forgiveness.”
When asked by another reporter whether they reach international organizations in aid efforts, Dr. Bassam Dwaihi, who is responsible for an international aid campaign for Syrian people, said: “We are working in cooperation with domestic and international organizations. But I want to underline this here we cannot work with Red Crescent in Syria. The Red Crescent does not help us there. Due to this attitude, it joins the massacres and damage in Syria.”
Later, plaques were presented to the officials from organizations which help Syrian people.
In the meantime, the aid convoy that set out for Syria is carrying aid items such as blankets, winter clothes, baby clothing, baby formula and food packages to be taken to urban and rural parts of the country.