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Will US pressure on Turkey over Hamas, Russia access to finance matter much?

Washington’s high-level warnings over Hamas financial activity in the country come at a time when Turkey’s economy management is trying to overcome its currency crunch by gaining the confidence of foreign investors.
The Gaza Strip's Hamas Prime minister Ismail Haniya (L) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan salute together the lawmakers of Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party at the Parliament in Ankara on January 3, 2012. Haniyeh's visit was a show of solidarity with the Islamic aid group IHH, which had planned to send the Mavi Marmara vessel with another Gaza flotilla last year but then dropped the plan. AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shows no sign of toning down his criticism of Israel over Gaza, but Ankara will likely put more scrutiny on Hamas fundraising schemes in Turkey following Washington’s dire warnings amid Turkey's efforts to gain in the eyes of foreign investors.

During remarks to reporters in Istanbul on Nov. 30, Brian Nelson, the US Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said Washington was “profoundly concerned about Hamas’ ability to continue to fundraise or find financial support for its operations for potential future terrorist attacks here in Turkey.” Nelson’s remarks came at the tail end of a week-long visit to Oman and Turkey that aimed to warn business and government circles about upholding US sanctions against Hamas, but also Russia, Syria and Iran.

Several administrations old

US pressure on Turkey for its Russia ties is nothing new — Nelson himself visited Turkey earlier in 2023, announcing the Biden administration’s intention to “prevent efforts to circumvent international sanctions and financial controls in dozens of countries, including [Turkey].” Ankara soon began to clamp down on companies to prevent restricted goods from reaching Russia.

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