Cablegate: Terrorist Finance: Successful Visit to Ankara By

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

Sensitive but Unclassified. Not for internet distribution.

1. (SBU) Summary: The December 16-18 visit of the Treasury
and Justice anti-terrorist finance team attracted intense GOT
interest. The visit resulted in an interagency GOT decision,
at the senior working level, to recommend to policy-makers
amending their laws to adopt an OFAC-like authority. Embassy
will follow-up with meetings with parliamentarians and
appropriate officials to gauge the interest in this proposal
at the political level. USG team should provide further
details on OFAC, and considering passing to Embassy some
drafting suggestions for amending Turkish law, that Embassy
can share on a low-key basis with GOT counterparts. If there
is political-level interest, then USG team might plan on a
follow-up visit to Ankara in the first quarter. End Summary.

A Successful Visit

2. (SBU) A Treasury/DOJ team of four anti-terrorist
financing legal experts held a series of meetings in Ankara
December 16 - 18. The goal of the visit was to provide
practical advice to Turkish counterparts on upgrading
Turkey's legal regime, specifically, to give the Turks
suggestions for amending their laws to enable them to move
swiftly to block terrorist financing assets.

3. (SBU) The USG team's Turkish interlocutors at the senior
civil service level - in the Ministries of Justice, Finance,
Interior and Foreign Affairs, and in the independent
regulatory boards for Financial Crimes, Financial Inspection,
and Banking Regulation and Supervision -
agreed with the USG team's presentations on the need to amend
their laws, and want the USG team to remain engaged with them
as they proceed to amend the laws. Even the most cautious of
the interlocutors, in the Justice Ministry's Directorate for
Legislation, agreed with the others on the need to add a
temporary, administrative blocking procedure, as long as it
didn't interfere with the GOT's existing ability to pursue
judicial prosecutions. The Ministry of Justice officials
shared with the USG team draft amendments to their Combating
Terrorism Law which are intended to improve blocking of
terrorist financial assets. Unfortunately, this draft was
not sufficient to use as a basis for upgrading Turkish laws;
the Turkish side recognized that more needed to be done.

4. (SBU) In the USG team's wrap-up session with all Turkish
participants, the team suggested two ways of amending Turkish
law to accomplish the joint goal of bolstering the GOT's
asset blocking capability. These two suggestions are not
"either/or" but rather complementary.

-- First, as a "quick fix," the Turks should amend their
Combating Terrorism Law to provide clear and unambiguous
legal effect to the United Nations' determinations with
respect to its lists of terrorist financiers, and delegate to
a single minister, or small group of ministers, authority to
immediately implement such UN determinations.

-- Second, the Turks should consider amending their laws to
develop an administrative authority to block terrorist
financial assets using administrative procedures to
complement their current civil and criminal judicial
processes. The team described the legal authorities and
administrative procedures used by the Treasury's OFAC as an
example of the U.S. method of implementing national
security-based economic sanctions regimes, such as blocking
terrorist-related assets. The Turks were interested, and
U.S. Treasury promised to provide more details on setting up
an OFAC-type agency that the Turks could tailor to their

Immediate Follow-Up

5. (SBU) In follow-up meetings December 31 with Financial
Crimes Board (MASAK) Chairman Coskun and Financial Inspection
Board Chairman Tuncer, and with newly appointed Finance
Ministry U/S Hasan Basri Arioglu, we learned that the GOT's
Financial Crimes Coordinating Committee met on December 25.
(Note: This committee is chaired by the Finance Ministry U/S
and includes the heads of the six different inspection
boards, as well as senior bureaucrats from Justice, Finance,
MFA and other ministries.) This Committee decided to revise
Turkish law to adopt a "civil in rem financial freezing
regime" - similar to an OFAC's authority - to cover three
kinds of illegal activity: terrorist financing; drug
trafficking; and governmental corruption. The Committee gave
members one month to provide proposed legal language to adopt
this facility. Mention was made of the need to study EU
countries' systems to see if they have such an authority
under their laws.

6. (SBU) MASAK Chairman Coskun told us that there has not
yet been contact at the political level on this
recommendation to adopt an OFAC-like authority. The
Financial Crimes Coordinating Committee plans to justify the
urgency of this amendment by referring to the new
government's "Emergency Action Plan" which does refer to
adopting anti-corruption measures required by the OECD. But,
Coskun noted, the senior civil servants do not know the
general orientation of the AK Party leadership towards this

Other Fruit of the Visit

7. (SBU) In the December 31 meeting at the Financial
Inspector Board, the inspectors gave FBI attache some
information on financial transfers to Turkish banks and
non-bank financial institutions that appeared to be
"suspicious transactions." FBI attache welcomed this
information sharing, and is organizing follow-on meetings
with FBI counterparts. He will report through other

Comment and Action Request

8. (SBU) The USG team's presentation attracted intense
interest and resulted in an immediate response - a decision
at the senior working level to recommend adoption of an
OFAC-like authority. To help ensure this happens, both
Embassy and Washington agencies should follow-up with the

(a) Embassy will begin consultations with new members of
parliament to raise the need for action at the political
level, and to assess the level of political support.

(b) OFAC Deputy Chief General Counsel Munro promised the
Turks a two-page description of OFAC including its legal and
regulatory authority. This would be useful in providing
further detail to the Turks, as they move forward to engage
their political level.

(c) We recommend that the USG team consider drafting in the
next two weeks some specific amendment suggestions for
establishing a Turkish OFAC, and provide it to Embassy.
Embassy can then pass this language in a low-key fashion to
Turkish counterparts.

(d) The USG team should remain engaged with appropriate
officials favoring an OFAC-style mechanism for blocking of
assets and civil in rem forfeiture. The focus of this
engagement should be to refine draft legislation for eventual
parliamentarian consideration.

9. (U) U.S. Department of Justice and Treasury team members
have cleared this cable.

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