Israel plans to restrict Turkish gov't aid agency's influence in East Jerusalem - Report

Israel’s National Security Council has drafted a list of measures against the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), operating in East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
Monday, 09 July 2018 18:11

Israel is considering restricting the activities of Turkey’s international 'aid' agency in Jerusalem and the Palestine "in an effort to counter President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s and his AKP government's reported efforts" to extend his influence in East Jerusalem, Hadashot news reported Saturday.

The National Security Council has drafted possible measures to be taken against the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) that operates in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

Among the possible measures are imposing a general restriction on TİKA’s activities and demanding that the agency obtain individual permits for its projects. At the same time, Israeli intelligence officials are said to believe that TİKA had hosted members of the Islamic Jihad movement and that some staff members had funnelled funds and information to the Hamas.

This echoes a recent report by Haaretz, which suggested that Palestine as well as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, had warned Israel over Erdoğan's efforts to "claim ownership over the Jerusalem issue" by expanding Ankara’s influence in East Jerusalem.

The report said Turkish Islamic associations in recent years have been sponsoring an increasing number of programs and trips for thousands of local Palestinians.

One Israeli official told Haaretz in June that Turkey was attempting to purchase property through government charities, and that Palestine was weary of "having another landlord in East Jerusalem."

Diplomats told the paper that Jordan began expressing concern to Jerusalem over a year ago and accused it of "being asleep at the wheel," since signing the reconciliation agreement with Turkey in 2016.

Riyadh meanwhile is said to be "worried that Erdoğan will attempt to use his influence in Jerusalem to claim himself the custodian of the Muslim sites in the city," cementing his increasing authority over the Arab-Muslim world.


An Israeli military court on Sunday charged a Turkish woman accused of passing on hundreds of dollars to a "terrorist" organisation, security sources said. Ebru Özkan, 27, was detained at Israel's Ben Gurion airport on June 11 as she was leaving the country to return to her homeland. 

Israel's Shin Bet security service said Özkan was arrested "on suspicion of posing a threat to national security and for having links to a terrorist organisation", passing on hundreds of dollars and phone chargers. 

The name of the group the Turkish woman was alleged to have links to was not given, but Israeli media reported the money was destined for the Islamist group Hamas.