Skip to main content

Turkey adds exiled Fatah leader Dahlan to most-wanted terrorism list

Dahlan charged with 'international espionage' over 2016 coup attempt, with Turkey offering $1.7m reward for information leading to his arrest
Earlier this month, Dahlan told MBC Masr that Turkey's president was stealing gold from the Central Bank of Libya
By Ragip Soylu in Ankara

Turkey has added exiled Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan to its most-wanted terrorist list and offered a $1.7m reward for help tracking him down, the Turkish interior ministry announced on Friday.

The ministry said that search and detention warrants have been issued for Dahlan on charges of perpetrating the 2016 coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the followers of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, which the Turkish government designates as a terror group. 

Dahlan's name has been added to the list of suspects published on the police website with his status listed as "wanted". 

The charges against Dahlan, according to the statement, are as follows: 

"Forcibly attempting to change the constitutional order, exposing state secrets for espionage purposes, obtaining state secrets for political or military espionage, revealing secret information related to state's security or political interest, and international espionage."

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Exiled Fatah leader drops libel case against MEE over Turkish coup story
Read More »

Dahlan has previously denied the allegations of involvement in the coup attempt.

In September, Dahlan dropped a libel case against Middle East Eye Editor David Hearst over MEE's reporting of the allegations hours before he was legally bound to disclose all electronic documents and material relevant to the case. 

MEE contacted Dahlan's lawyers for comment but was told: "We have no instructions in this matter."

Last month, Turkish Interior Ministry Suleyman Soylu told a Turkish newspaper that Ankara had been making preparations to add Dahlan to the most-wanted terrorist list, dubbed the "red list." 

A Turkish official familiar with the issue told MEE then on condition of anonymity that a Turkish prosecutor was readying an indictment against Dahlan.

“It would be a comprehensive paperwork. It would include lots of things you see on the media and his insults against Turkey. It is in the pipeline,” the official said.

'He is an Israeli agent'

Dahlan, a former head of Fatah’s security forces in Gaza, was accused in 2016 of involvement in the failed coup attempt against Erdogan in his alleged role as a fixer for the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed.

Anonymous Turkish sources had previously accused Dahlan of transferring money to coup plotters on behalf of the Emirati government. 

Mohammed Dahlan: Philanthropist or notorious fixer?
Read More »

In April, a Turkish police report obtained by MEE said authorities caught two UAE spies allegedly connected to Dahlan who were spying on Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian targets in Turkey.

Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Dahlan of being a “terrorist ringleader”.

“He is an Israeli agent. That’s why he has fled. We know that [UAE and Saudi Arabia] have tried to replace Abu Mazen (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas) with him. We all see this,” he said.

Earlier this month, Dahlan told MBC Masr that Erdogan was stealing gold from the Central Bank of Libya and had been providing a safe haven for slain Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in northern Syria.

“Erdogan is delusional and mentally unstable, wishing to resurrect the Ottoman Empire in order to occupy the Arab world,” he reportedly said.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.