Turkey Transshipment Chronology – 2000-2016

Turkey has emerged as a destination of concern for transshipment to countries involved in proliferation, including Iran and Syria. The following are significant events involving re-transfers or transshipments through Turkey.

October 2003: Authorities at the Italian port of Taranto intercept the BBC China vessel en route to Libya containing components for uranium centrifuges. The components are shipped on behalf of the proliferation network of Pakistani scientist Dr. A.Q. Khan. The shipment reportedly contains aluminum castings and dynamos supplied to Libya by Turkish companies connected to Henk Slebos, a Dutch businessman. Some components from Turkey are reportedly not detected during the inspection in Taranto and eventually reach Libya.

2005 – 2007: A German businessman transships 16 tons of graphite used in the production of rocket nozzles to Iran, using a Turkish intermediary. He falsely declared the graphite to be of low grade, to avoid seeking an export license. The businessman is later charged and confesses to the exports.

March 2005: Milad Jafari, an Iranian citizen, allegedly ships U.S.-origin fiber optic testing equipment from the United States to Turkey, for transshipment to Iran.

November 2005: Two Turkish companies, Tekno Elektrik (ETI Elektroteknik) and EKA, are reportedly discovered to have bought 40,084 ring magnets used in uranium centrifuge enrichment from Germany. 20,000 of these magnets were reportedly reshipped to Gulf Industries, a company based in Dubai, and the rest transshipped to Pakistan. These activities are reportedly part of an effort by the Khan network to supply a uranium enrichment plant to Libya.

November 2005: An investigation by the Turkish Customs Inspection Board reportedly reveals that Turkish companies transshipped millions of dollars’ worth of components to Libya, including ring magnets, frequency convertors, and centrifuge motors.

2004 – 2006: Press reports indicate that Step Standard Technical Part (Step A.S.), an Iranian-owned company based in Turkey, and Multimat Import and Export, its Iranian-owned affiliate, are involved in illegal transshipments of guided missile parts and dual-use nuclear-related material, including high strength aluminum tubes, from dozens of countries to Iran via Turkey.

July 2006: Milad Jafari allegedly ships an alloy product from the United States to Turkey for later transshipment to Iran.

2007 – 2008: Milad Jafari’s procurement network facilitates over $7 million worth of transactions for Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO). Jafari uses companies in Iran and Turkey to procure metal products, including steel and aluminum alloys, for AIO.

January 2007 – May 2011: Four individuals allegedly conspire to transship restricted items from the United States, including pressure transducers, thermal imagers, and solenoid valves, to Iran via Canada, Mexico, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. The individuals are Abbas Moradi, Amirreza Sahebjamei, Shahin Tabatabaei, and Seyed Mohammad Akhavan Fatemi.

June 2008: Ankair, a Turkish airline, is temporarily denied export privileges by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) after attempting to illegally re-export a U.S.-origin Boeing 747 air cargo plane to Iran.

September 2009 – August 2010: Saeid Kamyari, an Iranian resident, Oguzhan Aydin, a Turkish resident, and two companies, AGM Ltd. Co. and Blue Sky Aviation, allegedly attempt to procure aircraft parts for an F-14 fighter jet for transshipment to Iran, via Turkey.

July 2010: Milad Jafari is indicted and charged with exporting specialized metals with aerospace applications from the United States to Iran, via Turkey, for entities that have been sanctioned for involvement in Iran’s ballistic missile activities.

July 2010 – April 2015: A network of companies acting on behalf of Iran-based Faratel Corporation allegedly make at least 250 shipments of equipment related to uninterruptable power supply (UPS) technology to Iran. The conspiracy allegedly involves transshipping the equipment via Golsad Istanbul Trading Ltd., a company based in Turkey.

February 2011: The U.S. Treasury Department sanctions Macpar Makina San Ve Tic A.S. and Step A.S., two Turkish companies connected to Milad Jafari, for supplying goods and technologies to AIO in Iran.

March 2011: Asi Kiymetli Madenler Turizm Otom, a Turkey-based company, allegedly sends a $35,900 international wire to a Chinese company as part of an effort led by Reza Zarrab to assist Iranian entities in evading U.S. sanctions.

October 2011: AAG Makina, a Turkish equipment manufacturer, allegedly forwards U.S.-origin valve parts and a pressure transmitter from Turkey to Iran.

July 2012: Oguzhan Aydin, Saeid Kamyari, AGM Ltd. Co., and Blue Sky Aviation are indicted and charged with attempting to procure aircraft parts from the United States for transshipment to Iran, via Turkey.

February – March 2013: Amin al-Baroudi, a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, makes two trips from the United States to Turkey, smuggling U.S. origin goods, including military equipment, in his luggage. He later supplies these items to groups in Syria.

March 2013: Hossein Tanideh, an Iranian citizen, is arrested for using shell companies to ship nuclear materials from Germany and India to Iran, via Turkey. He reportedly shipped hundreds of nuclear-related items through these companies.

April 2013: Turkish authorities reportedly intercept a shipment of rifles, pistols, ammunition, and gas masks aboard a Libya-flagged vessel in Istanbul. The weapons reportedly originate in North Korea, but their final destination is unknown.

July 2013: On behalf of its CEO, Erdal Kuyumcu, New York-based Global Metallurgy exports 330 pounds of cobalt metal, which has nuclear and missile applications, from the United States to Turkey for transshipment to Iran.

August 2013: Abbas Moradi, Amirreza Sahebjamei, Shahin Tabatabaei, and Seyed Mohammad Akhavan Fatemi are indicted in California and charged with shipping restricted items from the United States to Iran via Canada, Mexico, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

April 2015: A group of companies located in the Iran, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States are indicted and charged with transshipping U.S.-origin dual use microelectronics to Iran-based Faratel Corporation, via Turkey and Taiwan. The defendants are Smart Power Systems Inc., Bahram Mechanic, Tooraj Faridi, Khosrow Afghahi, Arthur Shyu, Hosoda Taiwan Co., Ltd., Matin Sadeghi, Golsad Istanbul Trading Ltd., and Faratel.

January 2016: Amin al-Baroudi pleads guilty to conspiring to export U.S.-origin tactical equipment to Syria, via Turkey.

March 2016: Reza Zarrab, a dual citizen of Turkey and Iran, as well as Camelia Jamshidy and Hossein Najafzadeh, both Iranian citizens, are indicted and charged with conducting financial transactions on behalf of Iranian entities and concealing the beneficiary of these transactions by using companies located in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates in an effort to evade U.S. sanctions.

June 2016: Erdal Kuyumcu, a U.S. citizen, pleads guilty to conspiring to illegally export metallic powder that may be used in missile production and in nuclear and aerospace applications to Iran, via Turkey.