Yasin Aktay, a chief advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who shapes Turkish foreign policy for the Muslim and Arab worlds, on January 5, 2019 met with Ali Mohammed al-Sallabi, a Qatar-based supporter of Libyan militias, including those aligned with al-Qaeda’s sanctioned affiliates in Libya.
The meeting took place in Istanbul, where the Muslim Brotherhood has established a vast network to coordinate its global operations with the political and financial backing of Erdogan’s Islamist government.
According to the anti-Qatar terrorism designation list maintained by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, Qatar funneled much of its arms shipments and support for Libyan militias through Ali al-Sallabi and his brother Ismail Mohammed al-Sallabi, a leader of the Benghazi Defense Brigades, which is aligned with Ansar al-Sharia in Libya.
In 2011, Ali al-Sallabi facilitated a meeting of Libyan Islamist groups, including members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), to coordinate their efforts in the establishment of Libya’s National Transitional Council. The LIFG, sanctioned by the UN’s ISIL and al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, was the original Libyan branch of al-Qaeda.
Ali al-Sallabi is a member of the board of trustees of the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars, an organization led by Yusuf Qaradawi, a staunchly pro-Erdogan cleric who once sanctioned suicide bombings in Syria.
Aktay was deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) responsible for managing the AKP’s foreign relations and served as party spokesperson. He is currently chief advisor to party leader Erdogan.
Erdogan’s aide has advocated a caliphate vision for Turkey, calling the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami Turkey’s soft power proxies.