Ankara re­jects claim it helps Ha­mas

Cemil Tekeli says he was tor­tured by Is­rael dur­ing month’s de­ten­tion

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By ANNA AHRONHEIM

Turkey has re­jected Is­rael’s ac­cu­sa­tions that it helped Ha­mas gain in mil­i­tary strength, calling them “in­com­pat­i­ble with re­al­ity,” af­ter a Turk­ish cit­i­zen was ar­rested and de­ported.

“We re­ject the al­le­ga­tions, ap­par­ently out of re­al­ity and se­ri­ous­ness, which were in­tro­duced on the ba­sis of some state­ments ob­tained from our de­tained cit­i­zen un­der am­bigu­ous cir­cum­stances,” Turkey’s Anadolu Agency quoted the For­eign Min­istry in Ankara as say­ing.

“It is out of the ques­tion for Turkey to per­mit an ac­tiv­ity on its soil that can jeop­ar­dize the se­cu­rity of an­other coun­try,” the state­ment said.

Cemil Tekeli, a Turk­ish cit­i­zen and law lec­turer, was ar­rested by the Shin Bet on Jan­uary 15, just be­fore he was due to board a plane at Ben-Gu­rion Air­port, on sus­pi­cion of laun­der­ing money to Ha­mas us­ing Turk­ish busi­nesses. He was de­ported to Turkey on Fe­bru­ary 11.

In an in­ter­view with Anadolu, Tekeli ac­cused Is­rael of tor­tur­ing and drug­ging him dur­ing his month­long de­ten­tion.

“I used to hear peo­ple scream­ing, an­i­mal sounds,” he said. “It was as if they had been tor­tured.”

“Al­most 16 to 17 peo­ple came ev­ery day and asked me the same ques­tions ev­ery time. My eyes were sealed [blind­folded] and they were con­tin­u­ously tak­ing me from one place to an­other,” Tekeli was quoted as say­ing, adding that “you can­not even stand with your back against the wall be­cause of bad plas­ter­ing. Your hands and feet are cuffed.

“In the last room I was sent, I was all naked and they kept me wait­ing in hand­cuffs in freez­ing cold... Later they said they would take me to a room that they called VIP. At first, I thought it would be a bet­ter room. But that VIP room turned out to be like a fridge. The pris­on­ers there used to call it ‘sel­l­ace,’ which means fridge.

“One day, I was re­ally ex­hausted af­ter they had in­ter­ro­gated me for hours... Then I saw them giv­ing me an in­jec­tion. I tried to ask what they were do­ing and then I re­al­ized that there were two pills in my mouth. I could not fo­cus on any­thing af­ter that.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Shin Bet, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­gard­ing Tekeli found that he helped Ha­mas op­er­a­tives who had come to Turkey es­tab­lish them­selves, both per­son­ally and fi­nan­cially. Most of them were re­leased dur­ing the 2011 Gi­lad Schalit pris­oner-ex­change deal; all of them were in­volved in ter­ror­ist at­tacks which claimed the lives of dozens of Is­raeli cit­i­zens.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion also found that Turkey is con­tribut­ing to Ha­mas’s mil­i­tary buildup, among other things through SADAT, a com­pany that was set up to help fi­nance and build the “Army of Pales­tine” to fight Is­rael. SADAT also helped se­nior Ha­mas of­fi­cials visit a weapons ex­hibit in Turkey where they ex­pressed in­ter­est in un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle (drone) ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The Shin Bet im­plied that Turkey gave tacit ap­proval for Ha­mas’s ac­tions, say­ing that gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials there “turned a blind eye” to the fact that the ter­ror­ist group was the source of the money given to Tekeli and an Arab-Is­raeli who was also ar­rested in the case.

“The find­ings of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion il­lus­trate the ex­ten­sive mil­i­tary and eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity of Ha­mas in Turkey, which takes place un­in­ter­rupted as Turk­ish gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials turn a blind eye, and some­times even en­cour­age with the as­sis­tance of Turk­ish cit­i­zens, some of whom are close to the ad­min­is­tra­tion,” read the Shin Bet state­ment.

“This ac­tiv­ity re­lies, in­ter alia, on busi­ness plat­forms used by Ha­mas to laun­der funds to be trans­ferred to the West Bank and to re­cruit Is­raelis for its ac­tiv­i­ties,” the state­ment said.

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