The US Treasury placed five Turkey-based al-Qaeda facilitators and financiers on its sanctions blacklist Thursday, 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 organization, “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.
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Three Turkish nationals, Cebrail Guzel, Soner Gurleyen, and Nurettin Muslihan, were accused of having helped facilitate al-Qaeda’s network across Turkey and into neighboring 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, an extremist 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.