Palestine signs deal with Turkey’s AFAD, led by Muslim Brotherhood figure

Mehmet Güllüoğlu


Palestine has signed an agreement to cooperate with Turkey’s disaster management agency, which is led by a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood figure, allowing Islamist operatives to work in the Palestinian territories.

The agreement, signed by Gen. Youssef Nassar, head of the Palestinian Civil Defense, paves the way for Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) to work in Palestine and cooperate with its counterparts. AFAD is headed by Mehmet Güllüoğlu, an Islamist figure who has been working with the agency since August 2017.

Güllüoğlu’s social media messages portray him a staunchly anti-American and anti-Israel individual who accused the US of supporting terrorism and branded Israel supporters as “dead lovers.”



AFAD’s previous president was Fuat Oktay, who was later named vice president in the new government and rewarded for his service in clandestine operations as AFAD has reportedly been involved in shipping supplies and trafficking fighters to Syria under the guise of humanitarian aid and charitable work.

Güllüoğlu was involved with a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood outfit called Doctors Worldwide Turkey (Yeryüzü Doktorları) before working with the government. He had worked closely with Muhammet İhsan Karaman, another Islamist and the son of Hayrettin Karaman. Hayrettin is a highly controversial cleric and is known as the Turkish equivalent of Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Karadawi. Hayrettin is the chief fatwa (religious edict) giver for the Turkish president.

In November 2018 Hayrettin Karaman was elected vice president of the Qatar-based International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), a Muslim Brotherhood organization that is listed as a terrorist organization by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab nations. IAMS had been managed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, also listed as a terrorist and the supreme ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qaradawi is an ardent supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and he describes him as the leader of all Muslims.

The memorandum of understanding between AFAD and the Palestinian Ministry of Interior’s General Directorate of Civil Defense covers six areas of cooperation: Exchange of technical/scientific information and development of joint projects; exchange of experts and expertise; development of strategies and methods aimed at reducing common risks; organization of training courses, seminars and workshops on agreed topics; defining procedures for possible assistance in case of natural or man-made disasters; and encouragement of the participation of the other party’s observers in exercises in the field of disaster mitigation and simulations of major accidents and emergency situations.

Both Turkey and Palestine will plan the joint actions, engage in monitoring and evaluation of joint actions and propose other cooperation actions. The costs will be decided on a case-by-case basis and will be decided based on the project.

The agreement was signed on Oct. 28, 2018 in Ankara and is valid for a one year with automatic renewals. Erdoğan signed the agreement into law on Feb. 7, 2019.


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