Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday continued criticizing the US over the case of Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who revealed his tactics and accomplices in the Turkish government in violating US sanctions on Iran in a New York federal court, saying the US will not be able to make Turkey bow down, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
“Now the US is trying to judge, punish, discredit us because we did not submit to their scenarios. Their plan, their plot is clear. They are doing it with their collaborators in our country. They are doing it with Feto [a derogatory term coined by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to refer to the Gülen movement],” Erdoğan said during a party congress in Ağrı province in response to the Zarrab case in New York.
“You will not be able to trap us. They agitated the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] for this end. They activated Feto for this end. They sent ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant] to us for this end. Even now they use the leader of the main opposition party [Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu], in other words, the leader of main treason party for the same end,” added Erdoğan.
“My nation should know that none of those attacks, slanders and plots are independent of each other. They all target the same end: bowing Turkey down, setting my [people] against each other. Whatever they do, they will not succeed in it.”
President Erdoğan on Saturday had lambasted the US, saying it should not to try to convict Turkey with virtual courts.
“My country cannot be convicted with virtual courts and fake representatives of the vile Feto,” Erdoğan said in Kars province.
Zarrab testified in New York federal court on Thursday that Turkey’s then-prime minister and current president, Erdoğan, personally authorized the involvement of Turkish banks in a scheme to evade US sanctions on Iran.
Zarrab and eight other people, including Turkey’s former economy minister and three Halkbank executives, have been charged with engaging in transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran’s government and Iranian entities from 2010 to 2015 in a scheme to evade US sanctions.
Zarrab was the prime suspect in a major corruption investigation in Turkey that became public in December 2013 and implicated the inner circle of the ruling AKP government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan. Zarrab was alleged to have paid Cabinet-level officials and bank officers bribes to facilitate transactions benefiting Iran.
After Erdoğan cast the case as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, several prosecutors were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the investigation against Zarrab was dropped in Turkey.
Erdoğan and his government launched an all-out war against the Gülen movement following the corruption operations of December 2013.
Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.
Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed coup, Erdoğan launched a witch-hunt targeting the movement following the failed coup.
Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.
The government has seized at least 1,068 companies and 4,888 properties as part of the witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement.