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June 24, 2006

TURKEY: ERDOGAN AIDE LINKED TO TERROR FINANCIER

Filed under: Eurabia, Islam, Terror, Tyrkiet — limewoody @ 8:46 am

Istanbul, 23 June (AKI) – Turkish prosecutors are to look into a report linking a close aide to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a Saudi businessman whose name appears on a US government list of financial supporters of terrorism, Turkey's finance minister, Kemal Unakitan, has annoucned. According to the report, first compiled in 2004, the aide, Cuneyd Zapsu, in 1997 transferred 60,000 US dollars to the Muvaffak Foundation owned by the Saudi businessman man, Yasin al-Qadi.

The report – compiled by Turkey's Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) and parts of which were published on Friday by the mass circulation daily Milliyet – also lists a 250,000 dollar transfer made by Zapsu's mother Muvaffak in 1999.

Replying to questions by journalists on Thursday, Unakitan said the report which detailed the financial dealings between Zapsu and al-Qadi had been sent to prosecutors.

Zapsu in his reaction to the minister's announcement admitted he knew al-Qadi personally, but denied the allegations which he said were not supported by evidence.

Al-Qadi, also known as Sheikh Yasin Abdullah, is on the ‘global terrorists and financiers of terrorism’ list the US government and FBI compiled in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks.

At the time the report was compiled, al-Qadi was a partner in Turkey's BIM supermarket chain, then owned by Zapsu's family.

Washington alleges that al-Qadi laundered money from a real estate business in the United States and transferred the funds to groups linked to al-Qaeda and the radical Palestinian group Hamas.

While the Saudi businessman has denied the allegations, and says he has closed the Muvaffak Foundation, the United States and the European Union have frozen his assets and bank accounts.

Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has accused Unakitan of trying to bury the report and of removing from his post an inspector who had uncovered the link between Zapsu and al-Qadi. Unakitan has denied both claims.

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