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Saudi gold for Turkey

Reader comment on item: Who Lost Turkey?
in response to reader comment: Where did you get this info from?

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Jun 13, 2010 at 08:24

Asena wrote referring to rumours of big Saudi money in Turkey :

"Who told you this? This is a very serious statement. Who were you hanging out with while in Turkey?"

If you'd like to read something serious and unconnected to your favourite Turkish propaganda pamphlets , then there is an interesting scholarly article I recommend on the subject published in 2005 in the Middle Eastern Quarterly "Green Money, Islamist Politics in Turkey" by Michael Rubin .

Just a few quotes from it to help you see what people you hang out with don't notice or care about :

"Current and former government officials, as well as Turkish economists, variously estimated the green money infusion into the Turkish economy to be between $6 billion and $12 billon. Much of the money enters Turkey "in suitcases" with couriers and remains in the unofficial economy. Even when deposited, banks ask no questions about the origins of the cash. "Money laundering is one of the worst aspects of Turkish politics," a former state planning official said. Political parties across the political spectrum develop slush funds without revealing their source. But, under the AKP, the unofficial economy has grown exponentially. Official Turkish statistics provide some clue as to the scope of the problem. Between 2002 and 2003, the summary balance of payments for net error and omission category—basically unexplained income—increased from $149 million to almost $4 billion. This is an eighty-year record error. In the first six months of 2004, an additional $1.3 billion entered the system, its origins unaccounted. But even these net error figures may be too low.

"The growth of the Islamic business sector is apparent across Turkey and appears intricately linked to the AKP's rise. The growth of the Islamic business sector is apparent across Turkey and appears intricately linked to the AKP's rise [...] profits earned are reinvested in other Islamist ventures or political campaigns. The green money influx into Turkey is not a short-term phenomenon. Rather, through careful investment, green money is laundered into legitimate businesses that will serve as an engine for Islamist parties..."

"it appears that AKP leaders have blurred the distinction between business and politics. More troubling yet is the pattern of tying Turkish domestic and foreign policy to an influx of what is called Yesil Sermaye, "green money," from wealthy Islamist businessmen and Middle Eastern states.

[...] A national security correspondent for a major Turkish daily elaborated on the impact of the aid: "The change in foreign policy isn't happening in a vacuum. Saudi Arabia and Malaysia have made their foreign aid to the AKP dependent on Turkey readjusting its position toward Israel."

Erdoğan [...] perhaps [...] is heavily invested in green money business. In August 2001, Rahmi Koç, chairman of Koç Holding, Turkey's largest and oldest conglomerate, commented on CNN Türk that Erdoğan has a US$1 billion fortune and asked the source of his wealth. According to Sedat Ergin, Ankara bureau chief for Hürriyet, Erdoğan holds substantial financial stakes in three different firms, which both Turkish military and intelligence officers and, according to numerous interviews, the man-on-the-street as well, believe subsidize Islamist politics. The Erdoğan family controls approximately 50 percent of Emniyet Foods, the distributor for Ülker, Turkey's leading confectionary company. Recep Erdoğan is a shareholder in Ihsan Foods, which distributes Ülker's dairy products and owns a 12 percent stake in Yenidoğan Foods Marketing, which distributes Ülker soft drinks[...] since Erdoğan's accession, Ülker has become increasingly visible, perhaps as businesses seek the prime minister's favor. Across Istanbul and Ankara, Ülker's ColaTurka has begun to replace Coca-Cola in kiosks and store shelves.

[...] AKP advisors Korkut Özal and Cuneyd Zapsu are involved in managing the green money influx. Korkut Özal, the younger brother of Turgut Özal (prime minister, 1983-89; president, 1989-93), is the leading Turkish shareholder in Al-Baraka Finance, perhaps Turkey's leading Islamic bank, and Faisal Finance, which also has roots in Saudi Arabia. ... Like Korkut Özal, Zapsu eschews the limelight, although several Turkish and American media reports from the time of the AKP victory identify him as one of Erdoğan's chief advisors. [...] On October 27, 2001, Hürriyet reported that Zapsu was the business partner of Yasin al-Qadi, whose assets were frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control because of links to Al-Qaeda. Erdoğan cannot be held accountable for the faulty judgment of an aide, but in a global war on terrorism, such close links between his advisor and a terrorist financier are cause for concern."

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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