Terrorism Finance in Turkey: A Growing Concern

February 27, 2014
11:00 am -

Event Description

A Conversation with John Cassara, Svante Cornell, Jonathan Schanzer, Tom Joscelyn, and John Hannah

Turkey has been rocked by a sweeping corruption scandal. Prime Minister Erdogan has responded by reassigning policemen and prosecutors, and clamping down on press freedom. While these actions have prompted only muted criticisms from the West, some of the cases raise troubling questions about terrorist activity in Turkey – including financial ties to Iran, Hamas, and even al-Qaeda figures. FDD has produced research recently on these issues. But many questions remain.

John Cassara retired after a 26 year career in the federal government intelligence and law enforcement communities. He is considered an expert in anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, with particular expertise in the areas of money laundering in the Middle East and the growing threat of alternative remittance systems and forms of trade-based money laundering and value transfer. He invented the concept of international “Trade Transparency Units,” an innovative countermeasure to entrenched forms of trade-based money laundering and terrorist financing. A large part of his career was spent overseas. He is one of the very few to have been both a clandestine operations officer in the U.S. intelligence community and a Special Agent for the Department of Treasury.

Dr. Svante E. Cornell is an Associate Research Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, and a co-founder of the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. His main areas of expertise are security issues, state-building, and transnational crime in Southwest and Central Asia, with a specific focus on the Caucasus and Turkey. He is a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Military Science, and a Research Associate with the Center for European Studies in Brussels. Formerly, Cornell served as Associate Professor of Government at Uppsala University and as Course Chair for Caucasus Advanced Area Studies at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State.

Jonathan Schanzer is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Previously, Dr. Schanzer worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he played an integral role in the designation of numerous terrorist financiers. A former research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Dr. Schanzer has studied Middle East history in four countries. Dr. Schanzer has testified before Congress and publishes widely in the American and international media.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and the Senior Editor of The Long War Journal. Most of Thomas’s research and writing focuses on how al Qaeda and its affiliates operate around the world. He has testified before Congress on several occasions, including before the House Homeland Security Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, and House Judiciary Committee. He is a regular contributor to The Weekly Standard and his work has been published by a variety of other publications.

John Hannah is a Senior Fellow at FDD, focusing on U.S. strategy. During the presidency of George W. Bush, he served for eight years on the staff of Vice President Cheney, including as the vice president’s national security advisor. Mr. Hannah also served as a senior advisor to Secretary of State Warren Christopher during the administration of President Bill Clinton, and as a member of Secretary of State James A. Baker’s policy planning staff in the George H.W. Bush administration.


Al Qaeda Iran Turkey