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Turkey’s Islamist Foothold in Jerusalem, by Pinhas Inbari (JCPA via Mosaic)

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Jun. 25, 2018

Turkey’s recently reelected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as part of his efforts to establish himself as a global leader for Islamists and for Muslims more generally, has for years sought to exercise more influence among Palestinians. To do so, he has planted Turkish terrorist organizations in Jerusalem, as Pinḥas Inbari writes:

Turkey’s method of influence in eastern Jerusalem can be seen from several Turkish government organizations posing as NGOs (non-governmental organizations), which serve, according to several disturbing testimonies, as fronts for the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). . . . The IHH is an NGO that purports to provide humanitarian aid. However, according to the former head of the counterterrorism department in Turkey, Ahmet Sait Yayla, it is a terror organization that collaborates with Islamic State . . . .

IHH was founded during the war in Kosovo, and its activities are spread among all the places that were once under the rule of the Ottoman empire, or where the Ottomans aspired to rule. These include the Turkish-speaking nations in the former Soviet Union and Russia today. . . .

The IHH’s concealed collaboration with the large Turkish NGO TIKA is particularly worrying, because it may mean that terrorist cells are lurking behind the scenes of the cultural, social, and economic activities.. . .

One of the [other] ways Turkey is advancing its position in Jerusalem is through religious tourism. Organized groups of tourists, which, according to Israeli sources are composed of unemployed Turkish people who participate in this project in return for payment, come to Jerusalem. The purpose of their trip is not to enjoy the city’s sites, but to demonstrate a Turkish presence on the Temple Mount.

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