Ankara lists UAE-linked Dahlan in most wanted terror list

Published 13.12.2019 15:31
Updated 20.12.2019 02:21

Turkey added United Arab Emirates-linked businessman Mohammed Dahlan to its most wanted terrorist list on Friday for his connections to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and his role in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, which led to the deaths of 251 people.

According to a statement from the Interior Ministry, Dahlan was convicted of an attempt to overthrow the constitutional order, an attempt to perpetuate a military coup, announcing and obtaining confidential information for espionage and is being sought with up to a TL 10 million bounty on his head. Along with Dahlan, a total of nine terrorists were added to the most wanted list – four in the red category, three in the orange category and two in the grey category.

The list is divided into five color-coded categories, with red flagging the most wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and gray, depending on the level of threat they pose to Turkey's national security.

With the new additions, the number of terrorists listed in the most wanted categories has increased to 1,302; with 221 terrorists in the red category, 103 in blue, 98 in green, 196 in orange and 684 in grey.

Turkish intelligence units revealed that Dahlan had connections to the UAE spy network in Turkey. They noted that the UAE, in cooperation with Israel, was going to try and destabilize Turkey, Iran and Qatar. They believe that Dahlan, who maintains contact with recently established outlets in Turkey, serves this cause by channeling funds into certain media organizations.

In April, Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) revealed a spy network through the arrest of two UAE spies, Samir Semih Shaban and Zaki Y.M. Hasan. The investigations indicated that Hasan, Shaban's aid in Turkey and another key name of Dahlan's spy network, committed suicide in a Silivri prison in April following his arrest in Istanbul.

The former security chief for the Palestinian Authority (PA) known as the "hitman" of the Middle East, Dahlan was the main mediator between the UAE government and an assassination squad in Yemen.

He was expelled from Fatah in 2011 over claims that he poisoned then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. A year later, a nine-month investigation revealed that traces of radioactive polonium poison were found on the deceased Arafat’s belongings.

Dahlan also owns media outlets in the UAE, Egypt and Jordan.

He is also accused of being behind the 2013 coup in Egypt, which toppled the country's first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi. He openly supports Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who replaced Morsi, while media outlets under his command discredit Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

As part of Turkey's fight against terrorism, the Interior Ministry recently increased the number of rewards paid for tipoffs about senior leaders of terrorist groups to TL 10 million, more than doubling the remuneration. A new regulation regarding those who help uncover terror crimes or evidence or help authorities catch perpetrators allows the ministry to raise the bounty to TL 10 million in cases of major arrests. Currently, information leading to the capture of leaders or senior members of terrorist groups is awarded TL 4 million.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup in 2016, which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.

FETÖ was also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the legitimate state apparatus through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

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