According to a report by Nordic Monitor, the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), via official trips by its staff, illegally transferred funds for use by Hamas in Gaza. The money transfers were carried out at least between 2012 and 2016.
According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the ruthless witch hunt by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against critics and whistleblowers, employees of the TIKA who made official visits to Gaza to supervise continuing projects received a travel allowance from secret funds and left all the cash at the agency's office in Gaza without receiving a receipt for the cash.
The source said the money was withdrawn from a branch of Vakifbank in Ankara's Kavaklidere district and recorded for travel and meal expenses during the trip. The reason for using the money was simply because the workers do not need to submit invoices or vouchers when they return to the office. "You just write on a piece of paper that you spent this or that amount of money during the trip and sign it. That’s it. At the end of each year, these records were disposed of," the source added.
According to what was written, Muhamad Murtaja, former head of the Gaza branch of TIKA, and Mehmet Kaya, the representative of the jihadist Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH), worked together on the way in which TIKA's funds are invested in the city. Murtaja was arrested by Israel in 2017, and in 2018 he was sentenced to nine years in prison for financially assisting Hamas. The İHH organization was the one that organized the Mavi Marmara incident.
"Following Murtaja’s arrest, Israeli authorities seemed to use careful language, avoiding blaming TIKA and its Turkish staff directly and making Murtaja a scapegoat in a political move to avoid a new crisis with Turkey," the report said.
The TIKA organization also helped Hamas militants travel via Egypt to Turkey for medical treatment during Operation Protective Edge. According to the report, TIKA has an annual budget of about $4 billion without a need to show receipts for expenses.