Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood operative Hamid Abdullah Hussein al-Ahmar, who owns several companies in Turkey, has escalated his lobbying efforts in support of Hamas, holding numerous meetings with Turkish government officials and representatives from various political parties in recent weeks.
Having established Turkey as his operational base, al-Ahmar has utilized an organization called the League of Parliamentarians for Al-Quds (LP4Q) in Istanbul to advocate for the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian affiliate, Hamas, for some years. He has cultivated strong connections with the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the pro-Hamas Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
A delegation led by al-Ahmar has been holding meetings with Turkish officials, lawmakers and Islamist groups. These meetings have taken place since the launch of attacks by Hamas’s military arm, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, on October 7, prompting the Israeli military’s offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza.
The group’s efforts to influence lawmakers and, by extension, public opinion, included a meeting with Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmuş on November 8 in Ankara. They had meetings with representatives from various political parties, including Turkey’s Iran-backed Hizbullah’s political arm, HÜDA-PAR, which is politically aligned with Erdogan’s AKP.
Al-Ahmar was accompanied by Hasan Turan, an Islamist lawmaker from the AKP and head of the Palestine-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Group, who assisted him in building his network in Turkey with substantial support from the government. In meetings with political groups in parliament, Turan explicitly conveyed that LP4Q operates under the guardianship of President Erdogan.
In fact, four high-profile international meetings, drawing participants from dozens of foreign countries, were organized in Turkey under the auspices of the Erdogan government. President Erdogan personally attended the LP4Q meeting on December 14, 2018 and congratulated al-Ahmar and his associates for what he described as their valuable global efforts in awakening the Muslim world. When unable to attend LP4Q meetings, he sent personal messages to commend the organization’s work.
According to Turan’s claims, the organization has garnered support from approximately 500 members of parliaments worldwide and has been actively involved in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Turan also sits on the executive committee of LP4Q, while Nureddin Nebati, another AKP lawmaker and former economy minister in Erdogan’s cabinet, serves as president of the organization’s Turkey chapter.
It is obvious that LP4Q receives support from various Turkish government institutions, facilitated by the patronage of the Turkish president, who assists the organization in navigating bureaucratic process and reducing red tape.
The Nordic Monitor investigation revealed that LP4Q has already entered into several agreements with Turkish government agencies for assistance with its global operations. In April 2021 it signed a protocol with the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (Yurtdışı Türkler ve Akraba Topluluklar Başkanlığı, YTB).
The YTB actively collaborates with Turkish intelligence agency MIT (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı) and functions as a recruitment source for the spy agency from diaspora communities abroad, including exchange students who studied in Turkey on government scholarships.
In August 2021 LP4Q signed an agreement with Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu, to enhance its public relations efforts. The protocol was signed with the participation of Anadolu news agency CEO Serdar Karagöz, LP4Q General Manager Mohammad Makram Balawi and LP4Q Public Relations Manager Abdullah al-Beltaji.
The group also works with Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry as well as Ankara University to develop training and educational programs.
While promoting the Muslim Brotherhood ideology among Turkey’s population of 85 million and using Istanbul as a launching pad to forge global alliances, al-Ahmar is also involved in several for-profit companies, some of which appear to be financing Hamas’s global operations.
He is the founder and chairman of the board of an investment firm, Investrade Portföy Yönetimi A.Ş., established in Istanbul on November 15, 2017. Trade registry data reveal that he enlisted two Bahrain-based firms — Investrade Company BSC and International Trade and Investment Co. — as partners in the Turkish firm.
The declared capital for the company was 5 million Turkish lira ($1.3 million, based on the exchange rate in effect at the time). However, the current declared capital is 16.1 million Turkish lira, a figure that may not accurately reflect the true value of the business operations the company is involved in.
In August 2018, merely eight months after its establishment, the company was granted a license for portfolio management by the Capital Markets Board (SPK). This quick approval is noteworthy, considering the typically stringent regulations in the finance industry.
Organizational chart of Investrade Portföy Yönetimi A.Ş.:Investrade_organization_chart
The day-to-day operations of Investrade are overseen by its CEO, Hakan Berooğlu, a former Turkish government official who previously worked for the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF). The TMSF, a regulatory body, has been politically utilized by President Erdogan. Since 2015, approximately 1,000 private companies, including major conglomerates, have been seized by the TMSF as part of a crackdown on the Gülen movement, a group that is critical of Erdogan, particularly concerning government corruption and Turkey’s support for armed jihadist groups.
In his role as the head of the department for joint stocks and real estate at TMSF, Berooğlu oversaw the takeover of these companies until 2017, when he transitioned to the corporate sector. During this period, the Erdogan government redistributed the assets of these seized companies and the wealth of their owners to individuals connected to the government, who subsequently enriched themselves through TMSF schemes.
Al-Ahmar was also involved in Hamas business venture Trend Gayrimenkul Yatırım Ortaklığı A.Ş (Trend) which was designated under a sanctions regime on May 24, 2022 by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The US officials said the company was part of Hamas’s global financial assets, worth more than $500 million, and used to conceal and launder funds on behalf of the militant Palestinian organization. Al-Ahmar was the CEO of Trend and was removed after the US designation.
Due to the political protection afforded by President Erdogan, al-Ahmar and his business operations in Turkey have remained untouched by any regulatory body and have not faced any administrative or legal investigations.
Trade registry documents for the establishment of Investrade Portföy Yönetimi A.Ş.:Investrade_trade_registry