The Turkish government announced in the Official Gazette on November 5 that the assets of several people had been confiscated within the scope of the Law on the Prevention of the Financing of Terrorism. Among those whose assets were seized are suspects who allegedly provide goods, money or technology to radical jihadist organizations in the Middle East. It turned out that an Iraqi national who allegedly transferred money to Hamas and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and was designated as a sponsor of terrorism by the US Treasury in 2019 was granted Turkish citizenship. Since Turkey does not recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization, the person was only accused of affiliation with ISIS.
Marwan M Salih Salih Al-Rawi (aka Marwan Mahdi Salah Al-Rawi) was identified by the US Treasury as the CEO of Redin Exchange, whose official Turkish corporate name was Redin Danışmanlık İç ve Dış Ticaret Limited Şirketi, a consulting and foreign trade firm that was sanctioned by the US on September 10, 2019, for transferring money to Hamas. The company’s owners immediately decided to liquidate after the designation and to dissolve it 10 days later at a board meeting. Nordic Monitor had published a comprehensive news story about this shell company in March.
According to US officials, the company’s link to ISIS was that in January 2018, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated ISIS financial facilitator Walid Talib Zughayr al-Rawi, who was aware of an approximately $500,000 financial transaction of Redin Exchange administrator Marwan Al-Rawi or Marwan M Salih Salih.
Redin was primarily was accused of assisting, sponsoring or providing financial, material or technological support for, or goods or services to, Hamas and its operational arm, the Izz-Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades. The US Treasury also included in its official announcement published in 2019 money transfers allegedly made through the Redin company. Two of these money transfers in the amount of $6 million were from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) to Hamas and Hizballah in 2018.
Trade registry filing shows Redin took on new partners in 2015:Redin_trade_registry_new_partners_2015
Another important detail in the decision published by Turkey is that 37-year-old Marwan M Salih Salih is a citizen of the Republic of Turkey and uses a Turkish name, Polat Devecioğlu. Salih, who was born in Iraq, is not referred to as a Turkish citizen in the official Redin company documents in 2015. He probably acquired Turkish citizenship after then. The Turkish government used to keep information on whether the sanctioned foreign terrorist suspects were citizens of Turkey or not. The disclosure that Salih is a Turkish citizen and that of his Turkish ID number is a first, if it wasn’t simply done by mistake.
It is interesting that it took more than two years after the US Treasury’s decision that Redin was seized and Marwan was declared a sponsor of terrorism. Despite Marwan’s designation as the financier facilitator of Hamas and IRGC-QF, the Turkish announcement of his affiliation with only ISIS is a reflection of the fact that Turkey does not see Hamas and the Quds Force as terrorist organizations. The Turkish government used to quickly announce that it had blacklisted the people and companies the US Treasury had sanctioned in order to eliminate claims of supporting terrorist groups. A number of political observers and terrorism experts claim that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government provided ISIS logistical support and made Turkey a safe route for foreign fighters who came to join ISIS in northern Syria and Iraq. As a side note, the Erdoğan family was also accused of managing the shipment of oil supplied by ISIS-controlled groups in northern Iraq to international markets following a crisis in which a Russian fighter jet was shot down by Turkey over the Turkish-Syrian border in 2015. The Russians officially disclosed satellite images and documents confirming the ISIS oil allegations, after which President Erdoğan apologized to Russian President Vladimir Putin and pivoted to a more Russia-friendly policy.
The government of President Erdoğan had previously covered up a confidential criminal probe into Quds Force operatives and entities in February 2014. The investigation, launched in 2010, was looking into firms, associations and entities that were linked to the Quds Force. Some senior government officials including two chief advisors to Erdoğan were listed as suspects in the investigation.
In addition to Salih, two other people were sanctioned for helping radical terrorist organizations. They were designated as terror sponsors by the US Treasury on July 28, 2021. Hasan Al-Shaban was accused of coordinating the al-Qaeda transfer of funds to Turkey. Farrukh Furkatovitch Fayzimatov was designated for having materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of Hay’et Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS).
The decision published by the Turkish government states that the properties of people and companies alleged to be affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were also confiscated. It is likely that the people based in Turkey who support the jihadist terrorist organizations, which Turkey is accused of supporting, were published in a long list to avoid attracting attention.