The U.S. Treasury’s top terrorism financing official said on Thursday he had discussed with Turkish government officials his deep concerns about Palestinian militant group Hamas raising funds in Turkey and potentially breaking local laws, reported Reuters.
Turkey is “prominent” in Hamas fundraising schemes and the group is likely to take advantage of that as it seeks more cash amid its war with Israel, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said.
“We are profoundly concerned with Hamas’s ability to continue to fund raise and find financial support (here in Turkey) for potential future terrorist attacks,” Nelson told reporters in Istanbul between meetings with Turkish government officials and financial and business groups.
The United States, Israel’s closest ally, has sanctioned several Turkish entities and individuals in its effort to curb funding for Hamas following its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Nelson said Turkey was connected to Hamas’ past efforts to raise funds from donors, investment portfolios, charities and non-profit organisations.
Even if Turkey sees Hamas as legitimate, he said the group could still violate domestic laws, though he gave no specific example of this happening.
“There is sufficient opportunity for Turkey to address this problem under its own domestic legal authorities irrespective of U.S. sanctions,” he said.
Financial Times: US ‘profoundly’ worried over Turkey’s financial links to Hamas
The US had not detected additional Hamas money flowing through Turkey since October 7, according to Nelson, but the country had played “a prominent role in [past] fundraising streams and . . . that Hamas is going to seek to take advantage of that fact as it raises additional funds”.
His comments come after the Financial Times reported that Turkey’s trade in these items, including microchips and optical scopes, with Russia and suspected intermediaries had boomed since the war in Ukraine began last year, deeply frustrating the US and other allies including the EU and UK.
Wall Street Journal: Turkey is fueling violence on two continents by funding the terrorist group Hamas and helping Russia evade sanctions
WSJ emphasized that according to the information of its sources, Turkish individuals and legal entities are at risk of falling under a number of sanctions due to the provision of goods and services to Russia prohibited by Western export controls.
On November 14, the Washington Post reported that the largest oil refinery in Greece – Motor Oil Hellas – continues to receive Russian oil products, but it does so through Turkey.
Analysis to follow…