Turkey seeks extradition of U.S. sanctions case witness

Turkey is seeking the extradition of a key witness in a high-profile case in which a Turkish banking executive was found guilty of assisting with a scheme to undermine U.S. sanctions on Iran, state news agency Anadolu said.

The Istanbul prosecutor’s office issued an extradition request for former policeman Hüseyin Korkmaz, who took the witness stand to testify against banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, on the basis that Korkmaz was involved in a “judicial coup attempt” against the government, the agency said.

“Korkmaz faces several charges including ‘being member of an armed terror group’ and ‘attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey’,” it said.

The government’s phrase “judicial coup attempt” refers to a December 2013 attempt to prosecute Turkish government and banking officials for corruption over their involvement in the same sanctions-busting scheme that Atilla was found guilty of involvement in earlier this week.

The Turkish government says this was a conspiracy against it based on faked evidence by the Fethullah Gülen movement, a religious sect led by a U.S.-based preacher, which Turkey also blames for the July 2016 failed coup attempt.