Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that courts in the United States cannot put Turkey on trial in relation with a case of a Turkish bank executive who has been charged with evading U.S. sanctions on Iran, Reuters reported.
Reza Zarrab is a Turkish-Iranian gold trader. He has detailed in court a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions and over his testimony, the gold trader has implicated Turkish politicians. Erdogan is one of them. According to Zarrab, the Turkish president authorized two Turkish banks to join the scheme while he was prime minister. Ankara says the testimony is an attempt to undermine Turkey and a plot by the network of Fetullah Gulen. Gulen is living in the U.S. and Erdogan blames him that he is involved in last year’s coup attempt and wants his extradition. But, U.S. courts have said that they need sufficient evidence before extraditing the cleric.
Erdogan has told members of his ruling AK Party in the northeastern province of Kars that U.S. courts “can never try my country.” He has dismissed the case as a politically motivated attempt to bring down the Turkish government. According to the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency, Turkish prosecutors are set to seize the assets of Zarrab and his acquaintances.
According to Anadolu, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that Gulen’s followers had infiltrated the U.S. judiciary, Congress, and other state institutions, while the U.S. claims that its judiciary is independent.
The Hill reports that U.S. prosecutors are pressing Zarrab to detail the relationship between Turkey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn and want to know whether he was offered 15 million dollars to ensure the extradition of Gulen.