Dec 18 2017

Turkey will refer Zarrab case to United Nations and ICJ

Turkey is to take a court case being heard in New York regarding a plot to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran to the United Nations and the International Court of Justice at The Hague, pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah said.

"The United States is now against international law. Only the UN can take decisions that bind states," ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy and parliamentary constitutional committee head Mustafa Şentop said.

“Turkey did not act against U.N. resolutions,” Şentop said, “U.S. rules only bind itself, not Turkey.”

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, former deputy CEO of Turkey's state-run lender Halkbank, is facing charges of helping Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold dealer and a key witness in the case, to undermine U.S. sanctions on Iran to the tune of billions of dollars. Zarrab has testified he paid Turkish ministers and officials tens of millions of dollars in bribes to cooperate with the scheme, which he said had been given the green light by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Turkish government, however, denies the allegations and has called it a political plot orchestrated by what it calls the Fethullahist Terror Organisation (FETÖ), the followers of an Islamic preacher exiled in the United States who, the government also says, orchestrated a 2016 failed coup.

"While all these are taking place, it is not possible to say that this case is still a legal, technical case regarding an embargo.” presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said earlier in December.

“A political operation of perception is being carried out over this against our president, the Republic of Turkey and high-level authorities of the Republic of Turkey."

Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said that FETÖ had infiltrated the U.S. judiciary and was using it against Turkey.

"FETÖ's cases continue in the U.S ... because FETÖ infiltrated institutions there," Çavuşoğlu said.