The Turkish Daily News today publishes the following report after the government renounced to appeal a Court decision unfreezing the assets of Yassin Al Kadi. This is now confirmed by the Foreign Ministry. (see my earlier post on this issue).
Al-Qadi close to regaining frozen assets in Turkey
ANKARA – TDN with AP
Friday, September 22, 2006
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has dropped its appeals against a court decision that freed the frozen assets of a suspected al-Qaeda financier, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
The previous government in Turkey had ordered the assets of Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi frozen after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, saying that he was suspected of channeling money to terrorist organizations. The European Union and United States have also frozen his assets.
An administrative court overturned the order in July on technical grounds and ordered that the assets be returned, after a challenge made by al-Qadi with support voiced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Erdoğan’s office and the Foreign Ministry gave no reason behind the appeals to block the court order and keep the assets frozen, made in September, but confirmed on Thursday that the appeals had been withdrawn.
“I know Mr. Yasin, and I believe in him as I believe in myself” Erdoğan told NTV on July 11. “It is not possible for Mr. Yasin to establish ties with a terrorist organization and support it. … He is a person who has no specialty other than being a philanthropist”, he added.
U.S. Treasury officials allege that the Saudi-based Muwafaq Foundation, which al-Qadi heads, is an al-Qaeda front used to funnel millions of dollars to the global terror organization.
Deniz Baykal, leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), accused Erdoğan’s government of blocking an investigation into al-Qadi’s financial affairs focusing on reported money transfers by Erdoğan’s adviser Cüneyd Zapsu to al-Qadi in the 1990s when the two were business partners. CHP deputy Atilla Kart filed a parliamentary question on Thursday, asking Interior Minister Abdülkadır Aksu why Erdoğan was protecting al-Qadi.
The previous Turkish government had issued a Cabinet decree to freeze the assets of al-Qadi and another suspected al-Qaeda financier in December 2001, in line with a U.N. Security Council Resolution relating to those suspected of funding terrorist organizations.
At the time, Finance Ministry inspectors also began to investigate al-Qadi’s ties in Turkey but later claimed in a report that Erdoğan’s government tried to block the probe.