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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Turkey to be blacklisted by Financial Action Task Force

Jonathan Schanzer reports that Turkey is facing blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for its failure to reign in terror funding. 
It's not clear why Turkey's response to the FATF has been so slow. One reason perhaps is that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) doesn't view terrorism in the same way that the FATF does.
For one, Turkey has emerged in recent years as one of the primary patrons of Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by Washington, the EU, and most of Western Europe. In early December 2011, Erdo─čan reportedly "instructed the Ministry of Finance to allocate $300 million to be sent to Hamas' government in Gaza." Turkey has also earmarked funds for hospitals, mosques, and schools in the Gaza Strip, with other funds slated to help rebuild the territory after the Hamas war with Israel in November 2012.
Turkey reportedly began providing financial support to Hamas after Iran, suffering under a US-led sanctions regime for its illicit nuclear program, found it increasingly difficult to part with its foreign currency reserves. But now, in a strange twist of fate, Turkey is helping Iran skirt sanctions.
Iran has been receiving payment for its natural gas in Turkish Lira, which has then been deposited in Turkey's Halkbank. Iran has reportedly used Lira to purchase gold. In May 2012, Turkey's trade with Iran rose a whopping 513 percent. In August 2012, "nearly $2 billion worth of gold was sent to Dubai on behalf of Iranian buyers." By December, Iran was considering the creation of a joint barter company with Turkey to evade U.S. sanctions. The Turkish Zaman news outlet indicates that the Iranian gas-for-gold scheme continues, although recent reports note that Dubai gold dealers are scurrying, for fear of sanctions.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned state-owned bank, Halkbank, has reportedly played a role in facilitating several important deals with Iran.
Read the whole thing

Telling Turkey to stop funding terror and terror regimes is like telling the 'Palestinians' to stop being terrorists: It's in their blood.

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