In mid-December, the U.S. Department of State designated Emrah Erdogan, a Turkish-born German national, as a global terrorist. Erdogan, who is not related to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had joined and fought with the al-Qaida and al-Shabaab militant groups. He raised funds for both groups, and recruited foreign fighters.
In the spring of 2012 Emrah Erdogan travelled to Kenya from Somalia, where he had fought on behalf of the al-Shabaab terrorist group. He is also suspected of carrying out further terrorist activities in Kenya, as well as in Uganda.
In June 2012, Erdogan was captured in Tanzania and extradited to Germany. There he was tried and convicted, in January 2014, for joining militant groups in Pakistan and Somalia, and phoning in a false threat of attacks in Pakistan and Germany in November 2010. He is now serving a 7 year prison sentence for these crimes.
So what does the United States hope to achieve by designating a terrorist who is already in prison?
By designating Emrah Erdogan a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224, the United States effectively freezes his property and bank accounts, thus preventing his assets from falling into the hands of like-minded individuals. Once he has served his sentence, he will find it difficult to travel, and to access financial services. The designation also notifies the U.S. public, as well as the international community, that Emrah Erdogan has been actively engaged in terrorism. Designations also complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments.
By designating Emrah Erdogan, the United States is taking a decisive step toward starving him and the terrorist organizations with which he is affiliated, of their resources, disrupting their ability to execute their deadly agendas, and ensuring they find it ever more difficult to carry out their acts of violence.