On July 20, 2006, the Turkish Council of State (Turkish highest administrative Court) took the unprecedented step of overturning a government order freezing the assets of Yassin Al Kadi, after he had been designated as an individual associated to Al Qaeda and the Taliban by the UN Security Council.
Days after this decision, which clearly contravened UN sanctions, Turkish government’s spokesman made it clear Turkey will appeal the Council of State ruling to fulfill its international obligations. The decision was indeed appealed on August 31st through a government petition.
But only six days later, apparently at the request of Prime Minister Erdogan, a new petition was filed annulling the previous and renouncing to appeal the Council of State ruling.
In a previous post on this issue, I’ve stated that the Council of State decision could force the Turkish government to take a clear stand on the Kadi issue and beyond to show its real willingness to respect its international and European obligations.
We now have a clear answer from the Turkish government. After offering a public support to Yassin Al Kadi in July, following revelations that Kadi had received funds from a close advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, the Turkish government is now taking a new step in contradicting its obligations under the UN Charter.
The Turkish stand on Kadi raises many concerns: For the UN, this issue is not essential only for the future and effectiveness of the international sanctions against terrorism financing. It is also vital for the authority of the UN, while many are questioning its ability to establish international norms to fight terrorism and while many others call for the UN to take a central role in coordinating counter-terrorism policies. For the United States, which first designated Yassin Al Kadi, this decision could be a major setback. For the European Union, it is a clear signal that the Turkish government, despite its willingness to enter Europe, is unable to respect its most fundamental obligations and is ready to ignore European Court rulings and international sanctions.
For more information, see my previous posts on this issue:
– After Kadi’s Turkish ruling: National Courts vs. UN Sanctions, July 20, 2006
– A Turkish Court decides to unfreeze Kadi assets, July 20, 2006
– Yassin Al Kadi creates political turmoil in Turkey (Updated), July 17, 2006