Oct 20 2017

"Foul smells from New York?"

As the next hearing in the Reza Zarrab case draws closer, the pro-government media is starting to characterise the case as a Gülenist plot.

In an article published today in Yeni Şafak entitled "Foul Smells from New York 3", Mehmet Acet says that the Gülen movement "have a truly shining(!) career in the areas of conscripting judges, conscripting prosecutors, and conscripting lawyers".

"What guarantee can we have that they are not doing the same thing in the U.S.?" he added.

Reza Zarrab has been charged with seeking to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran through gold smuggling and the abuse of the American financial system.

The investigation expanded last month to include former Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, who stands accused of taking tens of millions of dollars' worth of bribes from Zarrab.

Acet sees Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the ultimate target of the investigation.

"We understand from Sunday's New York Times piece that we are facing an attempt to use Reza Zarrab at the November 27 hearing as an informant and from here to extend this business as far as President Erdoğan," he wrote.

Acet further links Judge Richard Berman to the Gülen movement through his participation as a moderator at a 2014 conference in Istanbul entitled "Justice and the Rule of Law".

The conference was held by law firm Yüksel Karkın Küçük, whom the pro-government media alleged to have links to the Gülen movement.

The firm, however, denied the claims when they emerged last year. Its owners later fled overseas, ten of the company's lawyers were detained in a police raid and the firm was seized by the government.

While in Istanbul, Berman also expressed his doubts about the independence of Turkey's legal system to the English-language Gülen movement-linked daily Today's Zaman.