The Hamas-supporting prime minister of Turkey and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) continue to find themselves on the uncomfortable end of a growing anti-government backlash. Street protests have swelled in recent weeks as the Islamist-Authoritarian regime has brutally jailed critics and political rivals, and continued to deploy force against peaceful demonstrators.
Now, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his cronies find themselves rocked by a scandal analysts describe as “the most damaging” of the corruption charges yet, exposing not only their financial corruption, but Erdogan’s betrayal of NATO allies, and the Islamist AKP leader’s deep collusion with the nuclear weapons seeking Mullah regime in Iran.
Not only did the massive “gas-for-gold” sanctions-busting scheme line the pockets of AKP elites, but it also delivered “neighboring Iran some $13 billion in Turkish gold between 2012 and 2013,” hard currency it badly needed at “the height of the Western sanctions regime,” explain Rachel Ziemba of Roubini Global Economics (RGE) and Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research and a Mideast scholar at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies(FDD), in a new report.
A previous FDD report highlighted Turkey’s ignominious role as a global terrorist financing hub, and Ankara has for the better part of a decade been a major source of concern for the intergovernmental organization charged with combating money-laundering and terrorist-financing, known as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Turkey remains the only NATO member on FATF’s gray list, where it had been placed “due to insufficient laws and capabilities to counter terrorism financing in Turkey.”
According to the new RGE/FDD research, during the height of the “gas-for-gold” period, Switzerland was Turkey’s primary source of gold, supplying a total of $8.15 billion in gold from March 2012 to July 2013, or $7 billion in net imports, (excluding Turkey’s exports of gold to Switzerland), and while some of Turkish imports were absorbed at home, Turkey sent $5.3 billion in gold to Iran.
As nuclear talks between Tehran and the P5+1 resume in Vienna today, a top State Department official is going public with accusations that Iran is engaged in ongoing illicit nuclear proliferation activity related to both its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, raising significant questions about the reason Iran is engaging in the talks. Tehran has a long history of using talks a distract from their unrelenting, covert race toward building nuclear weapons.
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