U.S. Treasury Designates Turkish Firm For Aiding Hamas

(New York, N.Y.) — Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department designated numerous Hamas finance officials, financial facilitators, and companies including Turkey’s Trend Gayrimenkul Yatirim Ortakligi A.S. (Trend GYO) for providing financial aid to the U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Prior to the Treasury’s actions, the Counter Extremist Project (CEP) wrote to Trend GYO on May 16 demanding clarification on its apparently extensive business ties with Hamas, noting the absence of “any reference or refutation of these serious claims on the Trend GYO website or press releases.”

Last year, Reuters reported that Hamas has investment portfolios “worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies across the Middle East.” Most of its nearly $500 million in assets are managed in Turkey, according to Double Cheque, which also reports that Trend GYO has five subsidiaries run by members of Hamas.

Turkey is openly supportive of Hamas and has allowed a Hamas bureau to operate in Istanbul since 2012. In recent years, Hamas leaders including Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal have been feted by Turkish leaders who reportedly permitted Hamas military training exercises in the country. Turkey has also invested billions of dollars in Gaza, freeing Hamas leaders to spend a greater proportion of their resources smuggling goods and weapons to attack Israelis through its sophisticated network of underground tunnels and a rocket industry built with Iranian support. In December 2021, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency broke up a Hamas cell of more than 50 operatives allegedly directed from Turkey. 

Treasury also designated Turkey-based Jordanian national Hisham Younis Yahia Qafisheh, the vice chair of Trend GYO’s board who aided the transfer of funds on behalf of various companies linked to Hamas’s investment portfolio.

Through its HARBORS Campaign, CEP highlights Turkey’s support for and cooperation with extremist groups including Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Haqqani Network, and the Taliban, including by providing refuge within its borders to senior leaders of the aforementioned groups.

To read CEP’s resource Hamas, please click here.

To read CEP’s resource HARBORS Campaign: Turkey, please click here.

To read CEP’s resource Turkey’s Lax Approach to Countering Terrorism, please click here.

To read CEP’s resource Turkey: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here.

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On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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