Turkish police raid charity aiding Syria

Turkish police reportedly conducted raids in six cities, detaining two al-Qaeda suspects [EPA]

Turkish counter-terrorism police have raided the offices of an aid agency on the border with Syria, in what local media described as an operation in six cities against individuals suspected of having links to al-Qaeda.

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said police on Tuesday raided its offices in the southern Turkish city of Kilis, which borders Syria, and detained one person.

“We see this as part of a dirty plot,” said the charity’s vice president, Huseyin Oruc, noting police had not given a reason for the raid. The IHH denied any ties to al-Qaeda.

“IHH aid is delivered to Syrian babies, children and those who freeze in the cold… This is an operation to change perceptions [about IHH] and stop aid from being delivered inside Syria,” the group added in a statement.

On January 1, Turkish media reported that security forces had stopped a truck loaded with arms and ammunition on the Syrian border and arrested three people, including a Syrian.

The drivers claimed they were carrying aid on behalf of IHH, but the organisation denied the allegations as “slanderous”. Interior Minister Efkan Ala also denied the reports, saying the truck was shipping aid to the Turkmen community.[Read more]