Turkey’s parliament starts debating a draft law to combat terrorist financing today as the country seeks to avoid suspension by a key Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development group.
The OECD’s Financial Action Task Force has given Turkey until Feb. 22 to adopt the legislation. Turkey has been under pressure to pass the measure over the past six years. Such a move would rank it alongside Iran and North Korea.
Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said last month that suspension would cause serious difficulties for Turkish trade and the economy.
“It could cause problems in money transfers; foreign countries may increase scrutiny for transfers from Turkey and delay the process,” Ergin said. Turkey may also face hurdles with money transfers and loans that could increase interest rates and inflation, he said, devastating the $800 billion economy.
Turkey accuses European states of turning a blind eye to requests to crack down on Turkish militants, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, and failing to extradite suspects. Government lawmakers like Hakki Koylu, deputy chairman of the parliament’s Justice Commission, say that Turkey’s definition of terrorism differs from that of Western countries.
Responding to international criticism that the draft law is inadequate, Koylu said on Jan. 24 that the government would try to defend the law. Turkey may not meet demands from other countries to freeze terrorist assets unless they reciprocate, Ergin said on Jan. 24.
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