Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ stressed that Turkey has not violated any international law in its trade relations with Iran and said that the ongoing Reza Zarrab case in New York was a clear plot against Turkey.
"The case in New York, which is being conducted with the cooperation of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and its operatives in the U.S., is a clear plot against Turkey," Bozdağ said in a televised interview yesterday.
The deputy prime minister said that Turkey has fully observed the United Nations' decision on sanctions against Iran and underscored that the U.S.'s judiciary cannot decide on Turkey's economic or political relations with other countries.
The Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab was arrested in Miami in March 2016 for allegedly evading U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran, which were lifted three months before his arrest, with multiple money transfers.
Zarrab alleged in court that he helped Iran use funds deposited in Turkey's state-owned Halkbank to buy gold, which was smuggled to Dubai and sold for cash. Halkbank rejected the claims and stressed that all of its transactions complied with national and international regulations.
When Zarrab decided to cooperate with U.S. authorities and testify as a witness, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a deputy general manager of the bank, became the main defendant in the case.
Direct links between the judge overseeing the case and the Gülenist terrorist group casts doubt on the trial. Turkish officials underlined that the case is politically motivated against Turkey.
Highlighting that the case in New York and the Dec. 17-25 process should be evaluated together, Bozdağ said that the same allegations and fabricated evidence previously used in Dec. 17-25, 2013 could be seen in the case in the U.S.
"Some policemen, who are members of FETÖ, will testify as witnesses; the think tank appointed as an expert is an institution that was financed by FETÖ; the prosecutor of the case visited Turkey in 2014 to support the Dec. 17-25 process and was hosted by members of FETÖ," the deputy prime minister pointed out, saying that the case continues within the framework of clear cooperation between FETÖ instruments in the U.S.
"There is not any evidence; there is an effort by the judiciary to comprise evidence against Turkey based on the slanders of Zarrab," he said.
Meanwhile, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chair Devlet Bahçeli lashed out at the U.S. for its attempt to "judge and target Turkey." On Dec. 9, Bahçeli indicated in his criticism that the case in New York attempts to judge Turkey based on the "slanders of Zarrab." He contended that if there were any unlawful transactions "the trial should be in Turkey, not the U.S."
Stressing that Turkey can trade with Iran, the MHP chairman said, "As a sovereign country, we decide with whom we trade or form economic and trade relations." He added that Turkey would not give up its political or economic interests because of the U.S.
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