After weeks of intense political fight on revelations that designated terrorist Yassin Al Kadi had received funds from a close advisor of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, based on a secret report of the Turkish financial intelligence unit, the political climate reached another stage when the Prime minister himself defended publicly his advisor and dismissed allegations against Yassin Al Kadi during an interview with Turkish TV channel NTV on July 11, 2006. Erdogan stated “I know Yasin, I believe in him as I do in myself. He is a charitable person who loves Turkey”. Erdogan added that it was impossible that Kadi would be linked with terrorism. The opposition party decided to file a lawsuit against the Prime minister’s advisor (Cuneyd Zapsu) and Yassin Al Kadi. While Turkey tries to reach the shores of the European Union, this new provocative stance sounds like a rejection of the international and European order that should have inspired the Turkish Prime minister. As recently stated by the European Court of Justice in a case brought by Yassin Al Kadi against his designation, “according to international law, the obligations of the Member States of the United Nations under the Charter of the United Nations prevail over any other obligation, including their obligations under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and under the EC Treaty”. Indeed, UN designations are made pursuant to resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, and are therefore binding on all UN member states. Turkish Prime minister Erdogan becomes the first head of state to officially contradict UN sanctions against terrorism.
The Turkish Prime minister spokesman, Mehmet Akif Beki, explained on July 16, 2006 that while the UN Security Council’s list includes names of some people who are thought to provide financial support to terrorist organisations, this list was not based on a court decision. “Therefore, being mentioned in this list does not mean that these persons are guilty or their guilt is proved by a court decision”. He further stated that “The UN member states have been asked to freeze the assets and bank accounts of the mentioned persons who are included in the list on suspicion and without being granted any right to defend themselves”. The Spokesman added that “The Turkish government is naturally fulfilling its obligations stemming from its membership of the UN. However, no case has been filed against Al Qadi in the USA, Turkey or any other country on charges that he backs terrorist organisations”. It should be noted that any listed individual has the right to challenge his designation. Yassin Al Kadi has been challenging his designation in many countries with no result until now. In addition, to state that no case has been filed against Yassin Al Kadi is simply wrong. The Swiss Federal Prosecutor opened a case against Al Kadi on October 15, 2001. Al Kadi was indicted on July 1, 2003. On June 15, 2005, it was transferred to a Swiss Federal investigative judge and the case is still pending. In any event, until Yassin Al Kadi remains on the UN list, any government has the obligation to apply the sanctions decided against him.