Turkey’s economy might well be put at risk if it does not seriously tackle its financing of terrorism, according this article in Hurriyet. However, the terrorists that Turkey is considering blocking are not the ones that Israel might have wished for.
Turkey will land on the “black list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in June if it fails to adopt legislation on the prevention of the financing of terrorism, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin warned yesterday during a debate on a long-delayed draft law at Parliament’s Justice Commission.
“As a country fighting terrorism itself, it is unacceptable for Turkey to be in such a position internationally,” Ergin said, indicating that Turkey is currently on FAFT’s “grey-black list.”
The FATF President will visit Turkey on May 22 to discuss the issue with Ergin and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.
The provision is criticized on the grounds that it would allow for the freezing of assets without a court ruling. The draft also envisages heavy penalties and fines. It calls for jail sentences of up to 10 years to those funding terrorist organizations or terrorists, even if the money is not directly used for a terrorist crime.
Ergin said yesterday that Turkey was criticized by the United Nations for lacking any extra-judicial mechanism to prevent terrorism financing, adding that the U.S., France, Germany and Russia had such mechanisms. “The prevention of the financing of terrorism is indispensible in the fight against terrorism,” he said.
The U.S. has long pressured Turkey to adopt the bill, but progress has been slow. Turkey received another strong request from the FAFT in February to pass the legislation.
Opposition lawmakers argued the bill would only serve the interests of foreign countries and would not help Turkey in blocking the financial channels of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) abroad.
The CHP’s Ali İhsan Köktürk voiced misgivings that the government could use the bill as a means to bully opponents. “[Jailed lawmaker] Mehmet Haberal is accused of being a terrorist. Will his assets be frozen?” he asked.
Justice Minister Ergin responded that such worries were baseless. The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has also raised concern that the law could be used to target Kurdish business people and the municipalities it holds in the southeast.
Hmm. I know that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, and therefore Israel has been building ties with the Kurds. On the other hand I do have some sympathy for the Turks who have faced some considerable terrorism from the Kurdish PKK.
On the third hand, I see no mention of any intention on the part of Turkey of stopping the financing of the IHH by its ruling AKP party – the IHH being of course the terrorist group that was one of the prime movers behind the disastrous Mavi Marmara flotilla.
This is an interesting case of “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. I just wonder how the FAFT will react if the Turks continue to fund the IHH.