February 27, 2024 | Townhall

The U.S. Should Sanction Mohammed Mushanish

February 27, 2024 | Townhall

The U.S. Should Sanction Mohammed Mushanish

Turkey is notorious for harboring Hamas terrorists and affiliated entities, and it is unclear why the U.S. government does not take a tougher stance. 

Following the October 7 terror attacks in Israel, carried out by Hamas, Ankara has increasingly come into focus, for the many ways in which it provides material support to the Gaza-based terror organization. Hamas’ senior, as well as rank and file members have found a second home inside the borders of a NATO ally, free to organize, spread their message, backed by the open political and diplomatic support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

In the days that followed the October 7 massacre, Erdogan came out in full support of Hamas, referring to the entity as a group of  “mujahadeen” freedom fighters. Many of Hamas’ senior leadership openly meet with Turkey’s top political elites, have established non-governmental organizations, managed by interlocutors such as recently-sanctioned Jihad Yaghmour, and engage in significant public outreach campaigns to include organizing a new “aid” flotilla for Gaza, and pro-Hamas rallies in major Turkish cities. Since October 7, The U.S. Treasury has taken the initiative to designate an increasing number of Hamas operatives, however, there many more who deserve to be designated. 

Mohammed Mushanish is one such person. Mushanish is a key Hamas operative in Turkey, with known association to President Erdogan, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other sanctioned individuals. Mushanish, is a Turkish based organizer for Hamas, who has lived in Turkey at least since 2013. He is currently the president of the ‘Palestinian Solidarity Association’ (FIDDER), a non-governmental organization established in Turkey (2008), dedicated to “raising awareness about the Palestinian issue and building cultural and social bridges between the Palestinian and Turkish peoples.”  

In reality, Mushanish uses FIDDER as a means to host designated terrorists at public speaker events, with the intent to socialize the Turkish people to Hamas’ cause. Among the hosted individuals are senior Hamas members Osama Hamdan (U.S. sanctioned), Saleh al-ArouriAli Barakeh (U.S. sanctioned), Husam Badran, and Nawaf Takruri. In October 2023, FIDDER hosted an event to express condolences to the families of the “martyrs” in the October 7 massacre. Scenes from the event show Mushanish standing in front of pictures of Hamas fighters who participated in the attacks. On the actual day of October 7, Mushanish posted a videofrom the Israeli Nova Music Festival of partygoers running away from Hamas terrorists. Captioning the video, he wrote “God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest, the crowd and the hornets will be defeated.”

Mushanish and FIDDER are not stand-alone entities, and have developed relationships with other sanctioned persons and entities. Mushanish is acquainted with and has hosted Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) Jihad Yaghmour. Yaghmour, was sanctioned by the United States in late 2023 for  “act[ing] for, or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Hamas” and is pictured participating in a FIDDER delegations alongside former Hamas leaders Saleh Al- Arouri, Nawaf Takruri and Abd al-Hakim Hanani. Mushanish is also listed as one of the leaders of ‘Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad’ (PCPA), an organization based in Lebanon and Turkey. Sanctioned by Israel and co-lead by Hamas leader Majid Al Zair, PCPA holds events that regularly feature Mushanish and Al Zair together. Most alarmingly, Mushanish is also linked to former Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami Al Arian (Al Arian). Al Arian was deported from the United States to Turkey in 2015 after criminal proceedings involving links to the PIJ. In Turkey, Al Arian established the Center for Islamic and Global Affairs at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. Mushanish has not only attended and spoken at conferences held by Al Arian at CIGA, but PCPA (while Mushanish was  Director) co-sponsored these conferences. Outside of CIGA, Mushanish has also been pictured with Al Arian at other events in Turkey.

Finally, Mushanish is well acquainted with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and members of Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP). On June 3, 2023, Mushanish participated in Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony at the presidential  palace in Ankara. Taking full advantage of Erdogan’s patronage, Mushanish has established a working relationship with Turkish parliamentarian Hasan Turan and the Palestinian “ambassador” to Turkey, Faed Mustafa. 

It is clear that Mohammad Mushanish is deeply engaged in promoting Hamas’ terrorist cause in Turkey, having established relationships with designated entities, all with the blessing of Turkey’s president. The U.S. government should swiftly take action to designate Mushanish as a ‘global terrorist’ without further delay. 

 Sinan Ciddi is a nonresident senior fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Melissa Sacks is a senior research analyst. Follow FDD on Twitter@FDD. FDD is a Washington, DC-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.


Palestinian Politics Turkey