The NGO Christian Assyrians of Iraq and Syria, based in San Francisco, requested the initiation of judicial inquiry against the Kuwaiti-Turkish Bank Kuveyt Türk and its subsidiary Kuwait Finance House for financing terrorists and criminal organizations.
The accusations against financial institutions are very serious. They include financial support for terrorist organizations Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra, involvement in crimes against humanity and genocide, as well financial support for the perpetrators of these crimes.
In an interview with Sputnik, financial expert from the Research Institute of Turkey 21 located in California, Tu?çe Varol, explained the details of the process and its possible consequences for Turkey.
According to Varol, despite the fact Turkey is not directly affected by the proceedings, the inquiry can still have a negative impact on Turkey's image, taking into account the severity of the accusations put forward against the bank located on its territory.
"The accusations are very serious. In particular, the Assyrians claim that Kuveyt Türk Bank's channels were used to transfer money to the accounts of such terrorist organizations as Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra. In addition, Kuveyt Türk Bank and its financial subsidiaries have been allegedly 'directly involved in the genocide of Assyrians, international terrorism, as well as crimes against humanity,'" Varol said.
According to the expert, the claimants possess very detailed data about how the money transfers were accomplished. In particular, they argue that Turkey was directly involved in the illegal financial activities and carried out money transfers via fundraising campaigns initiated by associations and organizations operating in Turkey.
"Support of international terrorism and involvement in genocide is a serious accusation. Turkey can get into the position of a country that violated the UN sanctions regime against terrorist organizations Daesh and.Jabhat al-Nusra," the expert said.
According to Varol, the fundraising campaigns are said to have been organized under the pretext of "delivering humanitarian aid to Aleppo." The website of one of the organizations suspected of being involved in the illegal financial activities contained account data of the Kuwaiti-Turkish bank.
"Given the difficult situation in which Turkey now is with regard to the Syrian crisis and activities of terrorist groups, one should not underestimate the seriousness of such campaigns as the collection of money under the pretext of sending aid to Aleppo. Turkey seems to have not yet fully understood how serious all this is. This trial [...] could signify only the beginning of a series of much larger future trials and proceedings related to Turkey," Varol said.
Earlier, media reports revealed that Turkey was buying oil from Daesh and that militant fighters entered Syria from Turkey. Taking into account these and other accusations, the expert pointed to a significant deterioration in Turkey's international image on the whole.
"This is very well seen in case of Turkey's reaction to the terrorist attack in Orlando, which has become the most serious one in American history after the 9/11 attacks. Despite all the difficulties that exist in US-Russian relations, Russia brought flowers and candles to the building of the US embassy in Moscow in memory of the victims of the shooting. Against the background of Russia's attitude the demonstrative silence of Turkey is even more striking," the expert claimed.
"It just ignored the tragedy in Orlando. Instead of following the principles of democracy and respect for human rights, Turkey, unfortunately, demonstrates a growing tendency to radicalization," Varol concluded.