U.S. Treasury adds Turkish companies, nationals to blocked persons list

The United States Department of Treasury designated three Turkey-based companies and two individuals on Monday for providing financial and logistical support to the Islamic State (ISIS). 

The Treasury, in a statement, said,

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two Turkey-based Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) procurement agents and four ISIS-linked companies operating in Syria, Turkey, and across the Gulf and Europe for providing critical financial and logistical support to ISIS.

“Following the highly successful operation against al-Baghdadi, the Trump Administration is resolved to completely destroy ISIS’s remaining network of terror cells,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin

The targets were blacklisted under an executive order that imposes sanctions on terrorists and those who have provided assistance or support for terrorists according to the U.S. Treasury Department, Reuters said.

Export-import company ACL Ithalat Ihracat, Al Sultan Money Transfer Company and Sahloul Money Exchange are the three Turkey-based companies designated as "Specially Designated Nationals (SDN)" list along with Turkish citizens and Turkey-based Ahmet Bayaltun and İsmail Bayaltun.

Other individuals and companies designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) are based in Afghanistan and Syria. 

According to a report published in the Turkish press in October 2015, Turkey's Customs and Trade Ministry issued a decree in Nov. 15, 2013 to permit aluminium pigment to be exported to Syria.

Müyesser Yıldız from the ultra-nationalist news site OdaTV wrote that the permit was cancelled nearly two years later, due to the fact that aluminium pigment is also one of the essential elements in bomb making. During those years many extremist groups -including ISIS- expanded their territories, and fortified their firepower and bombed attacks.

According to same report by OdaTV, Turkish Intelligence sent a classified note to the Customs and Trade Ministry in late 2015 telling them "Ahmet Bayaltun and his brother Ismail Bayaltun are ISIS sympathisers who are logistics smugglers for the group."

The U.S. Treasury added descriptions of companies and individuals in the end of its release. These are the ones based in Turkey in the statement.

Sahloul Money Exchange Company (Sahloul)

Sahloul has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, ISIS.

In late 2017, Sahloul held deposits from ISIS-linked individuals seeking transport out of Syria to Turkey.

In late 2016, Sahloul facilitated the transfer of foreign donations to ISIS’s then-headquarters in Mosul, Iraq.

Additionally, Sahloul transferred thousands of dollars to ISIS operatives in Turkey in 2016.

Al-Sultan Money Transfer Company (Al-Sultan)

Al-Sultan has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, ISIS.

Al-Sultan has been involved in transferring ISIS money.

In mid-2019, an ISIS associate identified Al-Sultan as an exchange that could be used avoid scrutiny when transferring funds.

Ismail Bayaltun

Ismail Bayaltun has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, ISIS.

Turkey-based Ismail Bayaltun and his brother Ahmet Bayaltun—through a company they owned in Sanliurfa, Turkey—have provided support to ISIS fighters.

As of late 2018, Ismail Bayaltun and his siblings provided material support to ISIS through ACL Ithalat Ihracat.  The company supplied ISIS with equipment in 2015 and 2017.

Ahmet Bayaltun

Ahmet Bayaltun has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, ISIS.

As of early 2017, Turkey-based Ahmet Bayaltun was identified as an ISIS procurement agent.

ACL Ithalat Ihracat

ACL Ithalat Ihracat is owned, controlled, or directed by Ismail Bayaltun, a person whose   property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended.

As of 2018, Ismail Bayaltun was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of ACL Ithalat Ihracat and operated ACL Ithalat Ihracat with his siblings.