Turkish PM links US verdict on banker Atilla to FETÖ
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has criticized the U.S. verdict on Turkish banker Hakan Atilla, saying the case was based on fabricated evidence by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
“They have massacred the law in this case. They are trying to convict Turkey through Hakan Atilla. This is the deal. And who is doing this? The judges and prosecutors who have linked arms with FETÖ. We’ll spoil all of the games directed to our country,” Yıldıım said on Jan. 6 while speaking at a provincial congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the central province of Nevşehir.
Yıldırım said the U.S. authorities had filed a case and then given a verdict based on evidence “fabricated” by the FETÖ. “And then they say to the jury members, ‘Do not avoid from charging [Atilla] even if there is no concrete evidence, such evidence does not need to exist, you can continue to accuse [him].’ And then they call it an independent judiciary. Those who try to give us legal lessons have massacred the law in this case,” Yıldırım said.
On Jan. 3, a jury in New York found Atilla guilty on five counts related to conspiracy and bank fraud but acquitted him of a money laundering charge.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry called the decision an "unjust and unfortunate development."
The verdict against Atilla, the 47-year-old former deputy chief executive officer of Turkey's Halkbank, came after more than three weeks of testimonies and four days of deliberation.
The counts on which Atilla was declared guilty included violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, crimes to deceive the U.S. and defrauding U.S. banks.
FETÖ is widely believed to have orchestrated the defeated coup attempt on July 15, 2016 which left 250 killed and nearly 2,200 injured.