Report: New US sanctions show ISIS cash flow still running through Turkey


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Islamic State fighters hold up their flag west of Baghdad, Iraq - March 30, 2014
(AP Photo, File)Islamic State fighters hold up their flag west of Baghdad, Iraq - March 30, 2014

'Various jihadist groups have exploited Turkey’s permissive environment'

The US is focusing fresh scrutiny on Turkey following allegations that it is not doing enough to stop jihadist militants from funneling money to the Islamic State terrorist organization, according to Voice of America, a US-funded international broadcaster.  

Last week, the US designated a member of the Turkey-based Rawi Network of financing terrorist activities, accusing Adnan Muhammad Amin al-Rawi of using a still-existing informal payment system to transfer cash to the Islamic State via Turkey.  

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“Al-Rawi has materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support” for IS, the US Treasury department said in a statement.

According to VOA, The Rawi Network, founded by an Iraqi family, has been involved in supporting militant groups and even state officials to undermine American interests in the Middle East. 

The Network first caught the attention of the US government in the 1990s when it was accused of aiding Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein evade international sanctions by buying and selling oil without reliance on formal banking systems.

In 2019, six members of the Rawi Network were blacklisted by the Treasury Department for using their own business entities to help sympathizers of the Islamic State fund the extremist group’s operations in Iraq and Syria. 

Speaking to former Turkish lawmaker turned Washington DC expert on Ankara politics, Aykan Erdemir told VOA that Ankara doesn't appear interested in using its own resources to stop an international matter. 

“These designations targeting the Rawi Network and others reflect the extent to which various jihadist groups have exploited Turkey’s permissive environment,” Erdemir, who now works with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies think tank, told VOA. 

“Turkey is the only NATO member state that has repeatedly become a target of Treasury sanctions, a sign that Ankara is either negligent or lenient in its treatment of jihadist entities and individuals,” Erdemir added.

Voice of America said that Ankara did not respond to a request for comment.  

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