Turkish Authorities Raid NGO Alleging Al-Qaeda Links

Humanitarian Relief Foundation denies connection with terrorists

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Umit Bektas / Reuters

A boy assists Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) officials loading humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees into a truck in the Turkish border village of Guvecci, 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Hatay province June 15, 2011.

Turkish anti-terror forces have stormed the offices of an NGO providing humanitarian relief to Syrians affected by the ongoing civil war, claiming that the organization is aiding al-Qaeda.

According to representatives from the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), law enforcement officials  raided its offices in Kilis, southern Turkey, on Tuesday and detained one person.

IHH representatives say the raid is a slander on their organization’s integrity.

Ankara has been an avid opponent of Bashar Assad’s government, and harbored refugees and opposition organizations within its borders during the three years of civil war in Syria. However, on Tuesday Turkish President Abdullah Gul called on his government to recalibrate its policy towards Damascus. He was vague on what a potential diplomatic shift would entail.

[Reuters, AFP]