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Turkish prosecutors drop probe into ISIS fugitive flagged by CIA

Turkish, Yusuf Yaşar, Financial Crimes Investigation Board, MASAK, General Directorate of Security, Islamic State, Emniyet, UYAP, National Judiciary Informatics System

Counterterrorism

Turkish prosecutors drop probe into ISIS fugitive flagged by CIA

Turkish prosecutors have dropped investigation into charges brought against Yusuf Yaşar, a fugitive ISIS jihadist. Writes Abdullah Bozkurt

Public prosecutors in Turkey’s Istanbul and Konya provinces decided to drop investigations into a 33-year-old Turkish man who was red-flagged by US authorities for being on the payroll of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

According to confidential documents obtained by Nordic Monitor, Yusuf Yaşar, a resident of Turkey’s conservative province of Konya, was the subject of two separate counterterrorism investigations launched by chief public prosecutor’s offices in Istanbul and Konya in 2018 and 2021, respectively.

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Both investigations, pursued as part of his alleged connections to ISIS under case file numbers 2018/194340 and 2021/16759, were dropped. The documents, prepared by the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), did not offer any explanation as to why the investigations were not pursued by the prosecutors.

Yaşar is also a suspect in an ongoing case in Konya that was initiated in 2018, but he remains at large. The police database lists him as a fugitive on the ISIS terrorist wanted list. Yet the MASAK inquiry in the database run by the National Judiciary Informatics System (UYAP), a government network that publishes court cases, shows no outstanding arrest warrant for him.

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He was red flagged by US authorities who shared intelligence with their Turkish counterparts in 2018, describing him as a man who is on the ISIS payroll. The information, sent by the General Directorate of Security (Emniyet), the main law enforcement agency in Turkey, to MASAK on June 22, 2018 showed that the US shared information about 219 people who received a salary from ISIS.

Yet it took more than three years for the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to act on the US intelligence and finally take action against Yaşar, whose assets were frozen on December 24, 2021. Banking records show he has an active account at Denizbank that he opened back in 2013.

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The bank, formerly owned by Russian Sberbank, has been managed by Emirates NBD since 2019.

The records also indicate that no property in Turkey is listed under his name. Data obtained from the Social Security Institution (SGK) reveal that he has never worked for any company or government entity legally and paid no taxes.

Long before the Americans shared the intelligence about him, Yaşar was on the radar of Turkish authorities. A public prosecutor in Konya indicted him on terrorism charges in 2015. It is unclear what happed with the case, but 2015 was a tumultuous year in Turkey for police chiefs and prosecutors who specialized in investigations of radical and jihadist terrorist groups in Turkey.

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Erdoğan, who was incriminated in cases of graft and illegal arms shipments to jihadist groups that were made public in December 2013 and January 2014, started removing police chiefs and prosecutors who were investigating armed jihadist cells in Turkey.

The Islamist government of President Erdoğan, which has controlled the criminal justice system since mass purges of judges and prosecutors, has proven to be lenient and forgiving when it comes to punishing dangerous jihadists from the al-Qaeda and ISIS groups.

Abdullah Bozkurt, is a Swedish-based investigative journalist and analyst who runs the Nordic Research and Monitoring Network and is chairman of the Stockholm Center for Freedom.

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Blitz’s Editorial Board is responsible for the stories published under this byline. This includes editorials, news stories, letters to the editor, and multimedia features on BLiTZ

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