CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu to Çavuşoğlu: Are you foreign minister or translator?
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has blasted Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for serving as interpreter for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a lengthy meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week.
“There is no other other foreign minister who is also acting as interpreter in the world. There was no other official at the meeting from the Foreign Ministry providing translation and taking notes,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a weekly address to CHP lawmakers on Feb. 20.
Erdoğan and Çavuşoğlu met with Tillerson on Feb. 15 for a meeting that lasted more than three hours at the presidency in Ankara. In the absence of official interpreters or note takers, Çavuşoğlu provided the translation between Erdoğan and Tillerson.
“We don’t know whether minutes of the meeting were taken down. In normal state procedure, minutes should always be taken and archived. It’s very likely that they kept translators and note takers away from the meeting as they discussed issues related to the the Zarrab and Halkbank case,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The CHP head was referring to the court case in the U.S. against former Halkbank general manager Hakan Atilla, who has been found guilty of evading U.S sanctions on Iran through an oil-for-gold scheme. Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish businessman who had been operating this oil-for-gold mechanism, decided to cooperate with the U.S. prosecutors and confessed working in Turkey to bypass sanctions on Iran.