Turkey learns Zarrab OK after second notice to US
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
Turkey has learned that jailed Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab is in good condition, after the United States responded to a second official question by the Turkish authorities, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Nov. 16.
“They [the U.S.] had responded in a general way and said ‘he is in another [prison]. His health condition is also well and he is safe. There are no problems.’ That is the situation,” Çavuşoğlu said.
“Seeing the news that said that Zarrab had disappeared or his lawyers could not reach him, we asked [about his whereabouts] to the U.S. officials. Since there was no answer, our colleagues asked once again to the U.S. Justice Department and were answered that he was in good condition in terms of both health and security,” the minister said.
This matched with the words of Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who said on Nov. 16 that Zarrab was in a good health condition.
There was speculation in Turkish media after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons website showed Zarrab being released from prison on Nov. 8.
However a spokesman for Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan said on Nov. 13 that Zarrab remained in federal custody.
“The information that Zarrab was released is not factual,” Zarrab’s lawyer Şeyda Yıldırım told daily Hürriyet on Nov. 15. Zarrab has pleaded not guilty to the charges of sanctions evasion.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said U.S. prosecutors have “ulterior motives” in the case, by including references to him and his wife in court paper.
Zarrab was scheduled to appear before a judge later yesterday for an interlocutory hearing before a jury trial on Nov. 27.