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Turkey conducts zero probes of terror finance in 30 years

October 22, 2013

If Turkey hasn’t even investigated the financing of the PKK terrorist group, which Turkey regards as a real threat, then Turkey certainly hasn’t investigated the financing of the Turkish charity IHH—a Hamas-linked charity that operates as a proxy of the government.  Nor is Turkey scrutinizing the weapons that are being transshipped through its territory across the border to jihadist rebels in Syria.

Is it too much to ask a NATO ally to conduct at least one investigation into the financing of terrorism within its own borders?

From Today’s Zaman via Antalya Central:

‘Turkey hasn’t launched any probe on terror financing’

11 October 2013

Turkey has been fighting against terrorism for almost 30 years and this has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people while billions of liras have also been spent.

However, previous efforts have all failed to produce the expected results in this fight. Recent research conducted by experts from the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance has revealed that no judicial investigation into the financing of terrorism has ever been launched nor has any complaint on the issue ever been filed in Turkey.

Stressing that Turkey has been missing out key points in its fight against terrorism, the country’s most urgent problem, experts underlined that most of the criminal cases filed on the issue of terrorism are on propaganda crimes which resulted in Turkey being convicted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Security units in the country have recently taken some steps to eliminate the financial sources of terrorist organizations including the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella terrorist organization that includes the PKK. But while the necessary legal infrastructure have been established, the sources of financing of the terrorist organizations were also discussed in further detail by the experts. Opium fields have been raided to eliminate drug incomes, the most important financial source of the PKK and the KCK. But it was found that money transfers to these organizations have never been fully monitored…

…PKK demands share from tenders

The experts also reported on sources of income for the PKK/KCK in detail. The organization reportedly earned around TL 100 million in 2012 from public tenders originally valued at TL 1 million. In 2013, this figure increased to TL 150 million. In addition, the PKK conducts customs control in various cities, primarily in Hakkari, Van, Şırnak, Mardin, Ağrı and Iğdır. The smugglers who use these customs points have to pay a tax to the terrorist organization, with the amount ranging between 2 and 5 percent of the value of the smuggled items, which amounted to TL 250-300 million in total.

Cash flow through borders

The amount of ilegal money flowing through Turkey’s borders on an annual basis exceeds $2.5 billion, which is described in the country’s financial system as money with unidentifiable sources.

“There is no information on where the huge amount of illegal cash goes or what purposes it serves. Officials need to identify the amount of money used by terrorist organizations,” said a senior official to Today’s Zaman speaking on the condition of anonymity, underlining Turkey’s inefficiency in keeping track of money flowing through its borders.

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