MESOP 31.3.2013 – Memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Germany was titled Close Co-operation in Combating the Financial Resources of Terrorism and Money Laundering.A new agreement is designed to target financial activities that benefit terrorist organisations, officials said. Turkey and Germany have pledged to work together targeting terrorism’s financial resources and money laundering.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the Turkish Finance Ministry’s Financial Crimes Investigative Board (known in Turkey as MASAK) and German Financial Intelligence Unit under Bundeskriminalamt, the Federal Criminal Police Office, on March 14th. Under the new agreement, Ankara will share dossiers, including evidence, with Berlin in an effort to take stronger action to end terrorism financing, officials said. For its part, the German Financial Intelligence Unit is authorised by the agreement to share personal data within the international context. Analysts said the new agreement would assist Turkey as it seeks to combat domestic terrorism, including its struggle with the Kurdistan Workers Party, better known by its initials PKK. “The companies contributing financially to the PKK activities in Europe have long been targeted by Turkish intelligence, and our country has been trying to work together on this issue with relevant countries,” told  Suleyman Ozeren, director of International Centre for Terrorism and Transnational Crime at the Turkish Police Academy. The signing of the memorandum between the two institutions was first proposed by MASAK in October 2010, according to a statement issued by the German Embassy in Ankara. Investigators also said that the PKK is holding tens of millions of euros in European bank accounts.

For local analysts, such as Dr. Mustafa Kibaroglu, head of the International Relations Department at Istanbul-based Okan University, the agreement with Germany is “significantly important” in Turkey’s fight against terrorism.

“With the significant advances in Turkey’s democratisation process over the last several years, and with the passing of relevant legislation regarding financial issues, European allies now feel confident that more co-operation and collaboration with Turkey in the fight against terrorism will be a win situation given that both sides now are able to satisfy the expectations of the other,” told Kibaroglu.

Dr. Burak Gumus, a faculty member at Edirne-based Trakya University who also has written several books about Turkish-Germany relations, agreed. “It seems Turkey convinced Germany to work together in target money laundering activity and financial resources for terrorism,”.

While negotiating with the PKK, Ankara also wants to cut down the group’s financial sources in order to “dominate the negotiations,” Gumus said. However, Gumus said there was another viewpoint that the agreement could be applied differently.

“Criticism is being voiced that the Turkish government could misuse the PKK argument only to legitimise politically the expropriation measures of other less radical oppositional political groups with close links in Germany besides the Kurdish separatists in order to disposes government opponents,” she said.

As Ankara recently makes “great strides to advance the human security as seen in the attempts to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue, Germany also started to pay more attention to hard security issues,” said Birgul Demirtas, an associate professor of international relations at Ankara-based TOBB University.

“I believe the Turkish-German memorandum of understanding to prevent the cases of money laundering and stop financial resources for the terror organisations is an important step forward to develop a common understanding of security,”.

The memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Germany was titled Close Co-operation in Combating the Financial Resources of Terrorism and Money Laundering.