US sanctions five Turkey-based Al-Qaeda facilitators

The US Treasury placed five Turkey-based Al-Qaeda facilitators and financiers on its sanctions blacklist.
The US Treasury placed five Turkey-based Al-Qaeda facilitators and financiers on its sanctions blacklist.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Treasury placed five Turkey-based Al-Qaeda facilitators and financiers on its sanctions blacklist on Thursday (Sept 16), as it focuses its attention on the extremist group's network in the country.

The Treasury said Egypt-born Turkish lawyer Majdi Salim and another Egyptian citizen, Muhammad Nasr al-Din al-Ghazlani, acted as financial couriers for Al-Qaeda in Turkey.

The group, designated by the United States as a terror organisation, "used Turkey-based financial couriers... to facilitate funds transfers on behalf of Al-Qaeda, including providing money to the families of imprisoned Al-Qaeda members," the Treasury said in a statement.

Three Turkish nationals, Cebrail Guzel, Soner Gurleyen, and Nurettin Muslihan, were accused of having helped facilitate Al-Qaeda's network across Turkey and into neighbouring Syria.

Thursday's announcement followed a similar sanctions designation in late July of two Turkey-based "financial facilitators" of Al-Qaeda and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a militant group based in Syria with ties to Al-Qaeda.

Concern has grown in Washington over a potential revival of Al-Qaeda, responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the United States 20 years ago, after US troops withdrew from Afghanistan in August.

Al-Qaeda had been sheltering in Taliban-held Afghanistan in the late 1990s, and the US invasion in 2001 toppled the extremist regime in a bid to find Al-Qaeda's leaders.

"We will continue working with our foreign partners, including Turkey, to expose and disrupt Al-Qaeda's financial support networks," said Andre Gacki, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which announced the sanctions.