Turkey Offers $700,000 for Palestinian Leader Accused of Turkish Coup
Mohammed Dahlan, a strongman figure of Palestine’s Fatah party, is wanted by Turkey for his alleged involvement in a 2016 failed coup.
Turkish authorities announced a reward last week of $700,000 for anybody who could help provide information leading to the arrest of exiled Palestinian senior Fatah party leader Mohammed Dahlan, who currently lives in the UAE. The authorities accused Dahlan of being involved in a 2016 failed coup attempt intended to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Interior Minister of Turkey Suleyman Soylu said that the fight against the suspected orchestration of the coup attempt included foreign nationals, along with Dahlan himself, who the Turkish authorities accuse of collaborating with the United Arab Emirates.
Among the accusations brought against Mohammed Dahlan, Turkish intelligence services claim that Dahlan had connections with a UAE spy network in Turkey. Dahlan is also accused of channeling funds to certain news media organizations in Turkey the government believes are trying to destabilize the country.
Ankara previously pointed a finger at the FETO movement, a socially conscious Islamist organization Turkey calls a terrorist organization, for the coup attempt in mid-July 2016. Dahlan is also accused of having delivered funds to the FETO group.
Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, told Aljazeera TV in an interview that the UAE has been hosting Dahlan, whom he described as a terrorist and agent of Israel after Dahlan fled the Palestinian territories, due to the Palestinian Authority’s accusations of his involvement in the killing of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 2004.
During the same interview, the Turkish Foreign Minister accused the UAE, which is not on good terms with Turkey, of trying to replace Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with Dahlan.
Earlier this month, the 58-year-old exiled Dahlan told a Saudi broadcaster during an interview that Erdogan has been supporting terrorist groups in Syria and has stolen gold from the Libyan central bank and acted as if he were commander of the faithful in the region in what Dahlan described as Erdogan’s dream of reviving the Ottoman Empire, which ruled some 100 years ago.
Mohammed Dahlan Responds
On his Facebook page, Dahlan responded to the Turkish announcement against him by writing in Arabic, “Instead of paying the $700,000 for my arrest, I would advise Erdogan to pay this money for a psychologist to treat him after his dreams in the region have been broken.”
Mohammed Dahlan, who is considered a strongman of the Palestinian Fatah party, has long been at odds with the Palestinian Authority’s president and Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas. Prior to the death of late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, Dahlan chaired the Palestinian Preventive Security Service, which was said to have largely cracked down on the Islamist Hamas party.
A Palestinian court accused Mohammed Dahlan of financial corruption and revoked his parliamentary membership. For the past three years Dahlan has been a consultant for the UAE’s emirs.
Recently, he has led a new trend in the Fatah party, called the Democratic Reform Stream of the Fatah Party. In the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, where Dahlan has a relatively large popular base, the man has funded various charitable projects, which are all said to be sponsored by the UAE.