Turkey’s Energy Ministry has overseas companies in tax havens: report

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The Directorate for Strategy Development of Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has revealed in a written answer to a parliamentary question that the ministry has established 14 public corporations in foreign countries, several of which are tax havens, the Anka news agency reported on Tuesday.

Yasin Öztürk, a lawmaker for the nationalist opposition Good (İYİ) Party, submitted a parliamentary question to Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez asking about the companies established abroad by the State Economic Enterprises (KİTs), an organization related to the ministry.

According to the written reply to Öztürk’s questions, KİTs currently have 14 public corporations on the island of Jersey, a self-governing dependency of the UK, and in Finland, Russia, Luxembourg, the United States, China and Hong Kong.

“None of the companies have foreign partners. The companies were established in line with the legislation of the countries in which they’re located and have the same rights as other companies in those states,” the directorate stated in its answer.

The directorate explained that the companies, which have a total of 84 employees, are involved in the fields of pipe laying, oil and petroleum products trade, the marketing and sale of boron products, the production of electrical energy and the maintenance and repair of electrical equipment, energy trade and waste management.

In September 2016 the emails of Turkey’s then-Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, were leaked to the public by a hacker collective called RedHack, detailing his alleged involvement in the transport of oil controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) via a company named Powertrans.

The Cumhuriyet daily reported in November that a bill submitted to the Turkish Parliament aimed to enable companies located in tax havens to move their assets to Turkey. According to observers, the bill is part of a series of moves by Erdoğan that prepare for possible sanctions over the claims of ISIL oil transportation and other issues such as an Iran sanctions-busting case in the US that includes a Turkish state bank and high ranking officials.

US President-elect Joe Biden is more likely to get tough on Erdoğan’s Turkey, unlike outgoing President Donald Trump, who, according to critics, did everything in his power to stall sanctions against Ankara.

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