Gülen, Israel ties behind Ankara’s bounty for exiled Palestinian leader Dahlan - Haaretz
Ankara’s motivation for placing a large bounty for information leading to the capture of former Palestinian official Mohammad Dahlan is its firm belief in Dahlan’s ties to a Turkish cleric accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt, Israeli newspaper Haaretz said on Wednesday.
The Turkish government also believes the former leader of the Palestinian Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip, who enjoys good ties with Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, is an agent of Israeli intelligence, the newspaper said.
Turkey announced in November said it would offer a four million lira ($700,000) bounty for information leading to the capture of Dahlan, who lives in exile in the United Arab Emirates.
Ankara accuses Dahlan of providing financial support to the Gülen movement, led by U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gülen, for the 2016 coup attempt, and playing a role in the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year in Istanbul in the Saudi consulate.
Dahlan has enjoyed excellent ties with Israel politicians, Haaretz said, pointing in particular to Avigdor Lieberman, former defence minister and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party.
Ankara’s belief that Dahlan is an Israeli agent is supported by his periodic meetings with Israeli officials and his statements on seeing Israel as an ally in the battle against Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, as reported by the New York Times, it said.
When Hamas seized control of the Gaza in 2007, Dahlan was forced to flee the Strip. He was viewed both in the West Bank and Gaza as one of those primarily responsible for Fatah’s defeat and was eventually ousted from the party, Haaretz said.
Convicted by a Palestinian court of stealing $16 million from the Palestinian Authority in 2016, Dahlan settled in the UAE, where he became an adviser on international affairs to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The former Palestinian official, who owns a television station in Egypt, recently broadcast an interview with Gülen, the article said, in a move that has infuriated Erdoğan.
Since a failed coup attempt in July 2016, Turkish authorities have imprisoned thousands they suspect of being members of the Gülen movement, including many members of the armed forces. Many more have lost their jobs for similar reasons, whilst assets worth billions of dollars have been seized from businesses connected to the movement.