Recently, statements given by Merve Dündar, a witness who is the sister-in-law of one of the suspects at the trial held on 9th June, 2021, in which the suspects of the October 10th, Ankara Station Massacre are standing trial, were distorted; and accusations were made against IHH regarding that our organization was connected with terrorism, appeared on the media. Unfortunately, the media organizations that received a statement from our foundation failed to correct the news in respect of the right to reply.
When we look at the content of the social media posts or news regarding the matter, it is clear that the motive of this is “throw enough mud and some will stick”; there is an attempt to establish a connection between our foundation and terrorist organizations, and to give the impression that our aid efforts are not aimed at the deprived people in the region, but as if these efforts are to support illegal bodies. But when we look at the statement, the witness only mentions humanitarian aid such as breakfast provisions, clothing and food. Although these were not mentioned in the witness’s accounts, some news articles deliberately added false and unfounded statements. These false statements with added speculations were presented to the public without debating the truth, and our foundation was not given the right to reply. In fact, although this has been legally proved and refuted, this defamation campaign is still ongoing. In this context, statements given by a witness at the trial of the October 10th, Ankara Station Massacre case, were distorted and our foundation was falsely accused of aiding ISIS. The public is aware of attempts to establish a connection between IHH and terrorism; generating accusations and defaming our foundation, and even the attempts to involve our foundation in crime by plotting and conspiring against our foundation that became more intense especially after the Mavi Marmara massacre carried out by Israel and the December 17-25 operations. Whatsoever, there is no possibility of IHH having any kind of connections with terror organizations. Regardless of the perpetrators, our firm stance against acts of terror is clear from the statements issued on the same day on IHH’s website and social media accounts. The prime mission of our foundation is to support the deprived and aggrieved people. IHH comes to the aid of victimized people that are forced to flee from their homelands, promiscuously of who they are or which organization is the cause of this. Our foundation helps the women, children and elderly civilians in need and living in refugee camps in all the regions of Syria that are under the control of different groups. This aid is given solely to the civilians, not the groups that control these regions.
Due to the nature of our aid efforts, IHH also operates in regions of war and crisis. The cases of war and conflict are where victimization and the violation of rights, especially human rights, are suffered the most. When a country is at war, or during a regional, ethnic or religious conflict between groups, the most affected are always the civilians, mainly the elderly, women and children. When carrying out these aid efforts, IHH delivers aid to all people, promiscuously of their religion, language, race, color, religious denomination, gender or political views. The aid conducted in many regions of Syria is a clear example of this. IHH is prepared to help the civilians in Syria, as it is also prepared to help the people in 123 countries on 6 continents. Due to all the reasons given, IHH stands out in independent researches as one of the most reliable non-governmental organizations.
There are claims that individuals or groups that are involved in crimes in the warring regions in Syria are conducting aid activities in collaboration with IHH to gain accreditation or to justify themselves. IHH only takes its international partner organization’s authorized representatives and active volunteers to Syria for one-day programs and aid distributions in Syria in compliance with the international procedures of Turkish official authorities. These statements that are given by individuals who are suspects with no connection with IHH whatsoever, and with the sole intention of justifying themselves, are being presented as accurate evidence and is incriminating our foundation.
The millions of people our foundation reaches out to, the humanitarian aid network established by our foundation and our aid activities are clearly disturbing certain individuals, and due to this these people are attempting to discredit the legitimacy and reliability of our foundation’s aid operations. Despite all these obstructions, IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation continues its campaign with the same determination we have shown for the last 29 years. We will resist all these defamation campaigns and continue to deliver the aid which deprived people deserves to receive. Since the beginning of the war, even when tens of thousands of people were being displaced from their homes every day, IHH has been one of the first non-governmental organizations to reach and taken the most efficient role in the region. Since 2011 when the war broke out, IHH has been the only non-governmental organization to deliver humanitarian aid continuously in Syria. Regarding the ceasefire and evacuation operations in Syria, Jan Egeland, special advisor to UN Envoy for Syria De Mistura, praised our foundation’s efforts by saying “All the Turkish non-governmental organizations, especially IHH has done a great job in these evacuation operations. IHH has done a great job.” In this context, the Humanitarian Diplomacy efforts and mediation and peace negotiations in compliance with international standards are also among of our foundation’s efforts.
As a result, for the sake of its mission and the values we believe in, our foundation, that is the subject of attacks made by ill-intentioned individuals who are grieving over their personal interests, will continue to convey its experience of the past that has never been defamed in any way, to the future.
As part of its principle of transparency, IHH is always ready to share information regarding its activities with the media, the public and civil society, as well as the political and legal bodies. IHH conducts all its activities legally, and in compliance with Turkish and international standards.
The public is fully aware that the claims which are made by accusing our foundation of being connected with illegal individuals, organizations or bodies of any kind are totally unfounded. Nevertheless, we are sharing this announcement with our esteemed public for the sake of not remaining silent to these recent defamation campaigns.