* Photo: FATF News Twitter account
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The Financial Watch Group (FATF) has graylisted Turkey for its failure to make sufficient efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, in a decision severely criticized by the Turkish Treasury Ministry and Finance in a written statement.
FATF President Marcus Pleyer made a statement after a three-day plenary session in Paris and announced that Turkey, Jordan and Mali have been added to the gray list while Botswana and Mauritius have been removed from the list.
He also said the number of countries under close surveillance has increased, noting that the Pandora Papers contain information on money laundering, which a close fight is needed.
“The FATF is aware of the concerns of human rights organizations”
Noting that Turkey is committed to addressing related issues, Pleyer said it needs to put those commitments into action.
Referring to Law No.7262 on Prevention of Financing of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which was recently introduced in Turkey, the FATF chief said he was aware of the concerns of human rights organizations. .
Noting that the FATF is aware of concerns about Turkey’s treatment of non-profit organizations (NPOs), Pleyer briefly said:.
Turkey must resolve “serious supervisory problems” in its banking and real estate sectors, as well as with gold and gemstone traders, FATF President Marcus Pleyer said at the press conference.
“Turkey must show that it is effectively tackling complex money laundering cases and show that it is pursuing terrorism financing prosecutions […] and prioritize cases of UN-designated terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, ”he added.
Turkey criticized the FATF for this decision
Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Ministry issued a statement about the recent move and said the country’s gray listing on Thursday by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was unfair.
“Despite coordination studies, putting our country on the gray list has created an unwarranted result,” the ministry said in its statement. “For the period to follow, all necessary measures will continue to be taken with the FATF and associated institutions to ensure that our country is removed from this unjustified list as soon as possible,” he added.
Noting that Turkey has been a member of the FATF since 1991, the ministry stressed that “the country has taken the necessary measures within the framework of regulations in line with international standards,” as the state agency Anadolu reported. (AA).
“Taking into account the FATF report, Turkey introduced on December 27, 2020 a law preventing the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”, he said, adding that “thus, it achieved significant improvements in the four issues mentioned in the 2019 FATF Report focusing on Financial Sanctions, Internal Audit and Affiliates, and Targeted Sanctions in the area of Terrorist Financing and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
He also noted that “Turkey has made significant progress in accordance with FATF standards during the pandemic despite the quarantine measures and that it has fulfilled its obligations in this regulation”.
Turkey was warned in 2019
Turkey received a warning in December 2019 and, in response, introduced a new law which it said would eliminate the concerns. But the law has been criticized by rights organizations, civil society and the opposition for targeting NGOs, rather than fighting money laundering.
22 countries in the gray list
With this decision, Turkey will be placed under increased surveillance, alongside 21 other countries on the gray list: Albania, Barbados, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, Jordan, Mali, Malta, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Senegal, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
The Financial Times newspaper previously reported that the FATF was preparing to graylist Turkey, noting that this would further undermine its ability to attract foreign investment and capital to Turkey.
The recent move could also put pressure on the European Union (EU) to include Turkey on the list of non-EU countries, but could pose a threat to its financial system.
According to a study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), countries on the gray list are struggling to attract foreign investment.
About the FATF
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global watchdog on money laundering and terrorist financing.
The intergovernmental body sets international standards aimed at preventing these illegal activities and the damage they cause to society. As a decision-making body, the FATF strives to generate the political will necessary to implement national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
With more than 200 countries and jurisdictions committed to implementing them, the FATF has developed the FATF Recommendations, or FATF Standards, which ensure a coordinated global response to prevent organized crime, corruption and terrorism.
They help the authorities to prey on the money of criminals who sell illegal drugs, human trafficking and other crimes. The FATF is also working to stop funding for weapons of mass destruction.
The FATF is examining money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and is strengthening its standards to deal with new risks, such as the regulation of virtual assets, which have spread as cryptocurrencies have grown in popularity. The FATF monitors countries to ensure that they are fully and effectively applying the FATF Standards, and holds countries that do not comply with them to account.
Turkey became a member of the FATF in 1991. (KÖ / SD)