Turkey has accused Mohammed Dahlan of a number of crimes. An attempt to overthrow the government in 2016, financing terror groups, and has also accused him of plotting against governments in the Middle East and Africa. Turkey has aggressively competed with the UAE/KSA axis up until November 2021 when UAE Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nahyan visited President Erdoğan and triggered rapprochement between the two countries. Turkey is aligned with Qatar to form an alternative path for developing nations from Afghanistan to Somalia. To counter this, the UAE insists that this alignment is part of the political Islam movement that divides nations and creates terrorism.

Beginning with the Arab Spring, Turkey and the UAE have had a harsh rivalry leading to direct conflict in Libya in the summer of 2020 when Turkish drones curtailed the expansionist ambitions of MBZ in Libya. On a diplomatic level, East Africa has been a focal region for both spheres.

Dahlan was tasked by the Abu Dhabi ruling family with being their main interlocutor in Africa. Directly putting Dahlan and his proxies in the cross hairs of Turkey.

“Dahlan is a person who seeks to create disorder and we are dealing with him as a terrorist.”

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu

 

The Wanted: Turkey Hounds Dahlan for financing the coup attempt.

Unlike most places, Mohammed Dahlan is known in Turkey, not for his Palestinian political efforts in Gaza, but for attempting to overthrow the Turkish government. Dahlan has been accused of financially aiding the Gülen Movement, which has been accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt. Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu accused Dahlan of “running a terror cell.” On February 16, 2020, Dahlan was added to Turkey’s most wanted terrorist list. Minister of Interior Affairs, Süleyman Soylu would not rule out Dahlan’s role in the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi who was grisly murdered by Saudi operatives in the Saudi consulate.

Turkey requested Interpol issue an arrest warrant for Dahlan. Yet, this request was rejected. Proof that Dahlan with his many international connections is able to walk the fine line between aggressor, fixer, banker, and paymaster without suffering any consequences.

Turkey is in the cross hairs of Dahlan and the UAE, as part of their harsh rivalry in several Middle Eastern and African countries. Turkey supported Arab Spring movements in Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, and Libya. The movements shook the confidence of familial autocracies like the UAE and KSA. The UAE’s direct hiring of Dahlan as a Security Advisor for their Middle Eastern and African Foreign Affairs is a result of this need for self-preservation.

These fairly young nations that survive on petroleum exports have the funds and will to prevent the installation of democratic regimes at any cost. Driven by the fear that any possible populist wave, internal intrigue, or foreign adventuring would shake its authoritarian rule. Although countries like the UAE hire thousands of foreign advisors, former Oslo Accords peacemaker Dahlan has appeared as the UAE’s dark shadow in disputed regions fought over between Turkey and the UAE. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted that Dahlan, the former leader of Fatah, had a $700,000 bounty put on his head on the very day that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was visiting Turkey. The paper described Dahlan as a “shadowy wheeler and dealer” a far cry from Israel’s choice to bring about a secure Palestine.

“Dahlan is running a terror cell.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

Dahlan’s tracks in Turkey are far from subtle. Two former Palestinian soldiers were arrested in Istanbul on charges of international espionage against Turkey. Their names were Samir Samih Shaban and Zaki Yusuf Hasan. The latter was found hanged in his cell a week after his detention. His case was closed and his death was deemed ‘suicide.’ The other soldier’s case is ongoing with a confidentiality order. They were arrested after lengthy surveillance by Turkish intelligence. Allegedly, the two were tasked by Dahlan to surveil UAE’s dissidents, including Jamal Khashoggi. An anonymous source told the Anadolu Agency that the two were also collecting information about dissident Egyptians living in Turkey.

Is Dahlan working against Turkish interests? In 2015 Dahlan told the Atlantic Treaty Association in Brussels, “I am not against Turkey. But I am against not exposing the facts of those who are not confronting ISIS, those who are providing it with financial facilities trading in oil with it or smuggling weapons to it.” Dahlan has also come down squarely as supporting groups and nations who support the UAE, KSA, Israel, and Egypt’s battle against its mortal enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood.

While the Syrian case is complex, Egypt was the first post-Arab Spring country where the two rivals were at each other’s throats. Dahlan was allegedly involved in the ousting of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and in the installation of the current president, Abdelfattah el-Sisi. Also, Dahlan began using Egypt as a media base. Several Dahlan-linked TV channels constantly attacked the Erdoğan government and even released an interview with Fethullah Gülen, the US-based leader of the Gülen Movement.

The second post-Arab Spring rivalry was seen in Libya, in the form of a proxy war between the two. Turkey supported Libya’s internationally recognized government. Turkey deployed unarmed drones and even allegedly shipped in Syrian mercenaries against UAE-backed Khalifa Haftar. The UAE has been trying to instate Haftar as Libya’s new Gaddafi. Allegedly, Dahlan was responsible for providing weapons to Haftar forces.

“I am not against Turkey. But I am against not exposing the facts of those who are not confronting ISIS.”
Mohammed Dahlan

Turkey viewed Somalia as a gateway to East Africa providing humanitarian help and building TurkSom, their largest foreign military base, which trains a third of Somali forces. Turkey’s style of openly engaging developing nations to great fanfare was evidenced when President Erdoğan made a great show of Somalia’s new statehood by arriving with his family in Mogadishu in August 2011. That same year regular flights between Mogadishu and Istanbul were established.

This rivalry permeated surrounding countries, including Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. For instance, in Sudan, Turkey-backed the transition council while the UAE supported the coup leader, Abdelfattah al-Burhan, involving Dahlan as a mediator between al-Burhan and neighboring countries’ leaders, including Israel.

Also, Turkey’s pro-government media outlets claimed that Dahlan enabled Sedat Peker, a well-known mafia boss and arms smuggler, to seek refuge in Montenegro. There are further claims that Dahlan brought Peker to Dubai to use as leverage against the Turkish government. After his arrival in Dubai, Peker released an array of YouTube videos, in which he propounded several allegations about state-mafia relations in Turkey, mostly targeting Süleyman Soylu, the Minister of Interior Affairs. Dahlan has been accused of funding the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, allegedly orchestrated by the Gülen Movement.  

Turkey has been instrumental in rebranding Dahlan from being seen as an internationally supported political hopeful to a person of interest in clandestine activities. Whether this changes with Erdoğan’s reproachment with the UAE remains to be seen.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

John Doe
Samir Samih Shaban and Zaki Yusuf Hasan after their detention.
Samir Samih Shaban and Zaki Yusuf Hasan in Istanbul.
Samir Samih Shaban and Zaki Yusuf Hasan in Istanbul.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

John Doe


While the Syrian case was complex, Egypt was the first post-Arab Spring country where the two rivals were at each other’s throats. Dahlan was allegedly involved in former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s ouster and in installation of current president, Abdelfettah el-Sissi. Also, Dahlan began using Egypt as a media base. Several Dahlan-linked TV channels constantly attacked the Erdogan government and even released an interview with Fethullah Gulen, US-based leader of the Gulen Movement. 

The second post-Arab Spring rivalry was seen in Libya, facing a proxy war between the two. Turkey supported Libya’s internationally recognized government and even allegedly employed Syrian mercenaries and its unarmed drones against UAE-backed Khalifa Haftar, the UAE has been trying to instate Khaftar as Libya’s new Qaddafi. Allegedly, Dahlan was responsible with providing weapons to Khaftar forces. 

Turkey viewed Somalia as a gateway to East Africa providing humanitarian help and building TurkSom, their largest foreign military base to train a third of Somali’s soldiers. . Turkey’s style of openly engaging developing nations to great fanfare was evidenced when President Erdogan made a great show of Somali’s new statehood by arriving with his family in Mogadishu in August of 2011 and starting regular air service between Mogadishu and Istanbul via Turkish airlines. 

This rivalry permeated to surrounding countries, including Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. For instance, in Sudan, Turkey backed the transition council while the UAE supported the coup leader, Abdelfettah al-Burhan, involving Dahlan as a mediator between al-Burhan and neighboring countries’ leaders and even Israel. 

Turkey has been instrumental in rebranding Dahlan from an internationally supported political hopeful to a person of interest in clandestine activities. Whether this changes with Erdogan’s reproachment with
the UAE remains to be seen. 

Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea are at odds over al-Fushqa region.

While the Syrian case was complex, Egypt was the first post-Arab Spring country where the two rivals were at each other’s throats. Dahlan was allegedly involved in former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s ouster and in installation of current president, Abdelfettah el-Sissi. Also, Dahlan began using Egypt as a media base. Several Dahlan-linked TV channels constantly attacked the Erdogan government and even released an interview with Fethullah Gulen, US-based leader of the Gulen Movement. 

The second post-Arab Spring rivalry was seen in Libya, facing a proxy war between the two. Turkey supported Libya’s internationally recognized government and even allegedly employed Syrian mercenaries and its unarmed drones against UAE-backed Khalifa Haftar, the UAE has been trying to instate Khaftar as Libya’s new Qaddafi. Allegedly, Dahlan was responsible with providing weapons to Khaftar forces. 

Turkey viewed Somalia as a gateway to East Africa providing humanitarian help and building TurkSom, their largest foreign military base to train a third of Somali’s soldiers. . Turkey’s style of openly engaging developing nations to great fanfare was evidenced when President Erdogan made a great show of Somali’s new statehood by arriving with his family in Mogadishu in August of 2011 and starting regular air service between Mogadishu and Istanbul via Turkish airlines. 

This rivalry permeated to surrounding countries, including Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. For instance, in Sudan, Turkey backed the transition council while the UAE supported the coup leader, Abdelfettah al-Burhan, involving Dahlan as a mediator between al-Burhan and neighboring countries’ leaders and even Israel. 

Turkey has been instrumental in rebranding Dahlan from an internationally supported political hopeful to a person of interest in clandestine activities. Whether this changes with Erdogan’s reproachment with the
UAE remains to be seen. 

OUR POST

Uncategorized

THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Since his expel from Palestine in 2011, Mohammed Dahlan sought refuge in Abu Dhabi. His relationship with the UAE seems to be mutually…

Uncategorized

THE UNITED STATES

Since his appearance in the political scene of Palestine as early as 1990s, Americans liked Mohammad Dahlan simply because he was prone to…

Uncategorized

SERBIA

Leaving previous disputes such as Emirati support for Bosnians during the civil war in the 1990s aside, Serbia and the UAE have established …

Uncategorized

MONTENEGRO

Montenegro is infamous for its deep-rooted corruption, different types of smuggling and giving space to dirty political relations in…

No more posts to show