Turkish ambassador to Qatar assisted one-time al-Qaeda financier with citizenship applications
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- Yasin al-Qadi Yasin al-Qadi is an Egyptian-born Saudi national who was at one...[+]
- Al-Qaeda Al-Qaeda is a global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin...[+]
Secret wiretaps have revealed that Fikret Özer, the Turkish ambassador to Qatar and former consul general in the Saudi city of Jeddah, had assisted Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi and his family members acquire Turkish citizenship.
Yasin al-Qadi is an Egyptian-born Saudi national who was at one time flagged by the US Treasury and the UN al-Qaeda sanction committee. Al-Qadi was later removed from the UN list, followed by the US Treasury delisting his name.
According to documents obtained by Nordic Monitor, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief of cabinet, Hasan Doğan, received an emergency call from Osama Qotb, the nephew of Egyptian cleric Sayyid Qutb, a founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, on May 22, 2013 at 20:42 hours. Qotb, acting on behalf of al-Qadi, asked Erdoğan’s chief aide to facilitate the processing of a citizenship application submitted by al-Hakim (full name is not included), a relative of al-Qadi.
Qotb said on the phone that al-Hakim had applied for citizenship at the Turkish Consulate General in Jeddah, where Özer was serving as consul general at the time, and that Özer had also assisted al-Hakim’s family members with applications at Turkish diplomatic missions in Dubai, London and Chicago. Qotb asked for Doğan’s assistance in acquiring Turkish citizenship for al-Hakim and his family members.
The secret wiretap transcript details a call between Qotb and Doğan on May 22, 2013 at 20:42 hours. The authorization was granted by the Istanbul 2nd High Criminal Court on May 20, 2013 as part of investigation case file no. 2013/3427.
Ambassador Özer, a childhood friend of President Erdoğan, has been a key operative in pursuing clandestine relations between the family of the Turkish president and the Al Thani royal family. Özer attended the İstanbul İmam-Hatip Lisesi, a religious public school, together with Erdoğan in the 1970s and had worked as an administrative officer in the foreign ministry since 1979.
According to another wiretap recorded in 2013, Egemen Bağış, the then-EU affairs minister and current Turkish ambassador in Prague, told Reza Zarrab, an Iranian money launderer, that Özer was engaged in selling Turkish citizenship to Afghan residents of Saudi Arabia for $100,000 during his posting in Jeddah.
Bağış was one of four ministers forced to resign on December 25, 2013 after the revelation of two corruption investigations on December 17 and 25 in which the inner circle of then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated. He was accused of accepting bribes from Zarrab in a sanctions-busting scheme run through Turkish state-owned Halkbank to circumvent US sanctions on Iran. He received $1.5 million from Zarrab. Bağış also helped Zarrab evade the bureaucracy in his dealings and assisted Zarrab’s father in acquiring a Schengen visa from the Italian Embassy in Ankara.
Source: Nordic Monitor