Turkey’s finance minister implicates states in ‘condoning’ terrorism financing
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
AA photoTurkish Finance Minister Naci Ağbal has praised the efforts of the Turkish National Financial Intelligence Unit (MASAK) and the Banks Association of Turkey (TBB), while criticizing a number of foreign states, without providing names, of “condoning” the financing of terrorism.
“When we look at practices in other countries that should share our sensitivity [in preventing the financing of terror], [we observe] that they permit a terror organization, which constitutes a vital threat to our country, to engage in fundraising,” Ağbal said, in his address during a joint TBB/MASAK workshop.
The minister argued the most effective means of combatting terrorism was to drain terrorist groups’ financial resources and underlined this required a concerted global effort.
“[Terrorism] networks are such that they are not national but global. Hence, the prevention of financing terrorism is a global struggle, not a national one and countries are obliged to fulfill all their responsibilities with regards to this effort,” he remarked, stressing Turkey’s active role in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body that aims to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
In his speech, the minister implicated some countries of providing for “terrorist groups,” without providing clear information about the accused states and organizations.
“Two days ago I was watching the news and coincidentally noticed that a terror organization provided a European bank account number and demanded people to send financial aid,” Ağbal claimed, explaining he was “saddened” by this situation.
The minister also said the effort to combat the financing of terror should not be restricted to illegal organizations but should also include “entities that had infiltrated into legal structures,” implicitly pointing the finger at the purported “Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ)/ Parallel State Structure (PDY)” linked to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) ally-turned-foe Fethullah Gülen.
“There are terrorist structures inside and outside of Turkey that pose a threat to the country. These are such structures that had infiltrated into legal structures. We, as the state, government and ministry, will continue to fight against all these groups, including the ‘Parallel State Structure,’ with determination,” Ağbal said.
Meanwhile, the minister praised Turkish banks’ “belief” in the need to prevent the financing of terrorism, citing this as the reason behind the rise in reports of suspicious bank account activities.
MASAK chair Osman Dereli supported Ağbal’s point with figures by explaining that banks had reported 66,719 of a total 74,221 suspicious bank account activities in 2015.
“In the first quarter of 2016, 23,339 of all 26,667 suspicious account activities were reported by banks,” he added.