It now appears that our recent advice to increase Country Risk on Turkey was well founded. While we know that Turkey has become the largest financial backer of Hamas of late, disbursing cash and credits, which can be used to make purchases, and for operational expenses, there is a more disturbing form of ongoing financial support that will impact Western banks and investors. The Turkish Government has reportedly been giving Hamas access to lucrative business opportunities inside the country.
According to reports from Turkey, the President of Turkey has personally assisted Hamas in placing investments in Turkish businesses, including but not limited to, hotels and restaurants, and that these investments are resulting in handsome returns to something referred to as Hamas' "Investment Wing*." Since much of the international aid Hamas receives from cooperating Arab countries, and Iran, is not used within Gaza, it is obviously being placed elsewhere. Remember the $40m Hamas leaders received from Qatar ? That was transported to Turkey.
This new information means that Western investors, and indeed EU banks, could be unwittingly involved in Turkish businesses owned by Hamas, a designated global terrorist organization. This news will certainly impact not only new foreign investment in Turkey, but a critical examination of all existing arrangements, to rule out Hamas as a partner, investor, or even bank client.
* I have not seen this term used before; with US laws proscribing the provision of financial support to terrorism, such an entity represents a clear and present danger to all international financial institutions whose clients are doing business in Turkey.