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Israel, US back Iran riots: Turkish FM

12 January 2018

"Based on the so-called 'evidence, ' which are forged and susceptible to political manipulation, and dwelling on Turkey's internal affairs on a fictitious basis, the USA court has been drawn into Turkey's domestic affairs in an unprecedented way", a press release on the ministry's website read.

A jury found Mehmet Hakan Atilla, deputy chief executive of Turkish lender Halkbank, guilty of five counts of bank fraud and conspiracy.

"We would like to remind that to make news which discredit our bank and damage its reputation based on the decision of the jury regarding our deputy general manager about the judicial process which is not yet concluded would be against the principles of the article titled "Protection of Reputation" of the Banking Law", it said. In particular, they took steps to protect and hide Zarrab's supply of currency and gold to the Government of Iran, Iranian entities, and SDNs using Turkish Bank-1, and in doing so, shielded Turkish Bank-1 from US sanctions.

When that failed, Zarrab agreed to plead guilty and lay out the story in court just a few weeks before the trial was to begin, leaving Atilla alone at the defense table.

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During the four-week trial, which strained U.S.

Zarrab's testimony detailed a massive money-laundering program that unfolded for years and reached the highest levels of power in Turkey, even President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - who, according to the BBC, allegedly "instructed Turkish banks to participate in the multi-million dollar scheme" in 2012 when he was prime minister.

Tempers flared after authorities in several countries past year prevented Turkish government ministers from holding political rallies to court expatriates' votes in a referendum on giving Erdogan expanded powers.

The case relied in part on documents and wiretaps from a 2013 Turkish corruption probe that were spirited out of the country by a former Istanbul police official, Huseyin Korkmaz, who also testified in the NY trial. Erdogan has repeatedly criticized the USA, accusing Washington of trying to interfere with Turkey's politics, and aiming to harm the country's ruling government.

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Turkey says the case was based on fabricated evidence and has accused US court officials of ties to the cleric blamed for a 2016 coup attempt.

Though the verdict did not have a major impact on the Turkish stock market or the currency, some experts emphasize the critical factor will be what kind of penalty American financial authorities, such as the U.S. Treasury, levy to Turkey's Halkbank. Among other issues, a major irritant in relations has been Turkey's jailing of several German or German-Turkish nationals, including a prominent journalist, on terror-related charges.

Atilla has denied all of the charges against him. Atilla is scheduled to be sentenced on April 11, before Judge Berman.

He termed the ongoing protests in Iran an "internal" matter of Turkey's neighboring country.

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Israel, US back Iran riots: Turkish FM