Gülen network using US judiciary as a tool against Turkey, deputy PM says
The Gülen network is using the U.S. judiciary as a tool against Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ claimed on Sept. 11, referring to a recent indictment by U.S. prosecutors who charged a former Turkish minister with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran.
The Gülen network, led by U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, is believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
At a news conference in Ankara, Bozdağ defended former Economy Minister Zafer Cağlayan against the charges, saying that trade relations between Turkey and Iran were legal according to both international and Turkish laws.
“There is no commercial transaction [between Iran and Turkey] that is against national and international laws. It is definitely not possible to make [such a transaction],” Bozdağ said.
An indictment was announced Sept. 6 in New York charging Çağlayan and three other Turkish nationals for violating U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran.
The charges stem from a probe into Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman arrested in the U.S. last year for alleged sanctions evasion.
“If you ask what is trying to be done in the U.S. regarding Reza Zarrab and now the issue that our honorable minister’s name is involved, the essence of the matter is this: The American judicial system is being used to repeat what the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization [FETÖ] tried to do during the coup attempt of Dec. 17-25  and failed,” Bozdağ said.
He was referring to a previous attempt when the Gülen network allegedly used its members in the Turkish judiciary to attempt to topple the government through an alleged corruption scandal.
Bozdağ said Çağlayan protected Turkey’s interests during that period and did his duty according to national and international laws.
“There is a very different thing here… It is part of a very dirty game. There is no evidence; there are fabrications,” he said.
“In a very clear way, the U.S. judiciary has been made a tool by FETÖ, which wants to damage Turkey through Zarrab, and the judge who will preside this case, Richard Berman, had joined an international conference of FETÖ in Turkey organized to explain its legitimacy to the international arena following the Dec. 17-25 judiciary coup plot, where he had acted as a moderator and criticized Turkey and the Turkish government through the rhetoric used by FETÖ,” Bozdağ said.
He also said some circles are trying hard to harm Turkish-U.S. relations and they should not be tolerated anymore.
Zarrab was arrested on March 21 last year in the U.S. on fraud and Iran sanctions-related charges.
He previously faced an investigation in Turkey in 2013 on charges of alleged illegal gold sales to Iran via Turkey, which resulted in his detention.
The case was dismissed in 2014.