Turkey to take FETÖ-backed Zarrab case to UN, Hague

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 18.12.2017 00:00

Turkey will appeal the ongoing Reza Zarrab case in the United States in various international platforms as Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu contended that Gülenists in the U.S. judiciary take an active role in the case. Presidential legal experts and lawyers in the government and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) are working around the clock to start a new initiative in the face of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ)-backed Zarrab case in the U.S. According to reports in Turkish media outlets, Turkey will take the Zarrab case to the United Nations and The Hague.

Reports also contended that President and AK Party Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told his fellow party members to be on the offensive rather than the defensive amid the controversy in the case.

Professor Mustafa Şentop, head of the Constitutional Committee in Parliament and AK Party deputy, said regarding the case that the United States judiciary is acting against international law. "The United States is now against international law. Only the UN can take decisions that bind the states," he said.

Stressing that Turkey did not act against U.N. resolutions, Şentop said the U.S.'s rules only bind itself, not Turkey.

Zarrab, 34, a former gold trader, last month accepted all the U.S. charges against him, including violation of the now-lifted U.S. sanctions against Iran, money laundering and other charges, and agreed to cooperate as a witness against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, former deputy CEO of Turkey's state-run lender Halkbank.

Zarrab was arrested by U.S. authorities in March 2016 on suspicion of taking part in the alleged sanctions-busting scam, but is now cooperating with the authorities in an apparent plea bargain.

The Turkish government, however, denies the case and asserts that this case is a political plot orchestrated by FETÖ. "While all these are taking place, it is not possible to say that this case is still a legal, technical case regarding an embargo. A political operation of perception is being carried out over this against our president, the Republic of Turkey and high-level authorities of the Republic of Turkey," presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said earlier in December.

The case has recently turned surreal amid Zarrab's lies in front of the court. Last September, Zarrab, in a call from prison, said he needed to lie to get out of prison or get a reduced sentence, courthouse reporter Pete Brush claimed, citing the defense letter in a tweet.

"A curious letter appeared and then disappeared from the Mehmet Hakan Atilla docket over the last few hours. Atilla's lawyers told Judge [Richard] Berman that U.S. prosecutors did not meet their burden to turn over exculpatory evidence in a timely manner," he wrote.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said that FETÖ has infiltrated the U.S. judiciary as well, which is why plot-like cases are being carried out against Turkey. "FETÖ's cases continue in the U.S. through FETÖ's indictment prepared in Dec. 17-25 because FETÖ infiltrated institutions there," Çavuşoğlu said.

The foreign minister stressed that FETÖ has members inside U.S. institutions, above all the judiciary, just like Turkey. "FETÖ has taken control of Congress. They distribute to various lobbies money they took and stole from our citizens by exploiting their religious feelings."

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