Ankara [Turkey], November 29 (ANI): The banned Popular Front of India (PFI) is still maintaining close ties with a radical Turkish group accused of supplying arms to Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in Syria.
According to a Nordic Monitor investigation, a Sweden-based publication, two key leaders of the PFI, EM Abdul Rahiman and Prof P Koya, members of the National Executive Council of the PFI, were privately hosted in Istanbul by the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (Insan Hak ve Hurriyetleri ve Insani Yardim Vakfi, or IHH), an Al-Qaeda-linked Turkish charity.
Abdullah Bozkurt, a Turkish journalist and bureau chief for the Gulen-aligned newspaper Today's Zaman, writing in Nordic Monitor said that IHH was accused of smuggling arms to Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in Syria in January 2014 in a counterterrorism investigation conducted by a prosecutor in Turkey's eastern province of Van.
The investigation into a Turkish Al-Qaeda cell found that Ibrahim Sen, a top Al-Qaeda operative who was detained in Pakistan and jailed at Guantanamo until 2005 before he was turned over to Turkey, his brother Abdurrahman Sen and others were sending arms, supplies and funds to Al-Qaeda groups in Syria with the help of Turkey's intelligence service.
The meeting was held at IHH headquarters in Istanbul on October 20, 2018, and attended by IHH Secretary-General Durmus Aydin and IHH Vice President Huseyin Oruc. The representatives of both organizations discussed promoting a partnership in various fields.
It was done as part of the Turkish government's outreach to Muslim communities in the Southeast Asia region, said Bozkurt.
The IHH functions as the long arm of Turkey's Islamist ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who effectively considers himself the leader of all Muslims worldwide.
The IHH has been identified as an organization that closely works with Turkish intelligence service MIT, led by Erdogan confidant Hakan Fidan, another Islamist figure, reported Nordic Monitor.
The PFI appears to be a perfect match for the IHH as both organizations have been implicated in terrorism.
PFI was found to be involved in the 2011 Mumbai bombings, the 2012 Pune blasts, and the 2013 Hyderabad Dilsukhnagar attack.
Meanwhile, PFI was promoted by Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency as a civic and social group, said Bozkurt.
The PFI issued a statement endorsing Turkish President Erdogan after a 2016 coup attempt that was in fact a false flag orchestrated by Erdogan's intelligence and military chiefs to consolidate Islamists' power in the government and launch an unprecedented purge of critics from government jobs, reported Nordic Monitor.
The IHH had long been flagged by Russia as an organization that smuggled arms to jihadist groups in Syria, according to intelligence documents submitted to the UN Security Council on February 10, 2016.
Russian intelligence documents even furnished the license plate numbers of trucks dispatched by the IHH loaded with arms and supplies bound for Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups including the Nusra Front, said Bozkurt.
The leaked emails of Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of Turkey's President Erdogan and current finance and treasury minister, also implicated the IHH in arming Libyan factions.
The secret document found in leaked emails tells the story of how the owner of a bankrupt shipping and container company asked for compensation from the Turkish government for damage his ship sustained while transporting arms between Libyan ports at the order of Turkish authorities in 2011.
The document revealed all the details of a Turkish government-approved arms shipment to rebels in a ship contracted by the IHH, reported Nordic Monitor.
The Erdogan government helped save the IHH from legal troubles in Turkey while mobilizing resources and diplomatic clout to back the IHH in global operations. (ANI)