Turkish PM says U.S. verdict on ex-Halkbank manager is linked to Gülen

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that the prosecutors and judge in the trial of a deputy CEO of Turkey's state-run Halkbank are linked to Fethullah Gülen.

Addressing supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the central Anatolian province of Nevşehir, Yıldırım accused the prosecutors of targeting Turkey, and said they had broken the law.

The U.S. jury convicted Atilla based on “fabricated evidence provided by FETO,” Yıldırım was quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency as saying. FETO is the name given by the Turkish government to a network of Gülen’ followers, which Turkey deems a terror group called  the“Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation.”

Turkey blames U.S.-based Islamic preacher Gülen of plotting the July 2016 coup attempt. Gülen denies the accusations.

On Wednesday, a New York jury found Halkbank’s former executive Hakan Atilla guilty on five counts of bank fraud and conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, but acquitted him of a money laundering charge.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry called the decision an “unjust and unfortunate development” Anadolu said.