U.S. sanctions case “violation of Turkish sovereignty” - justice minister

A high-profile case in which a Turkish banker was convicted of undermining U.S. sanctions on Iran constituted a violation of Turkey’s sovereignty, the country’s Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül was quoted by liberal news website T24 as saying.

“We evaluate the case as an attack on Turkey’s sovereignty,” Gül said. “The decision is not legal.”

“In terms both of the implementation of a situation stemming from the United States’ domestic law on a foreign national, in terms of jurisdiction and in terms of whether the action constituted a crime, there is clear doubt over the case,” Gül said.

The jury in a New York federal court returned a guilty verdict on Wednesday against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy general manager of Turkish state-owned Halkbank, on five counts of helping Iran evade sanctions imposed due to its nuclear programme.

The case contributed to increased tensions between Turkey and the United States after witnesses accused Turkish ministers of corruption and involvement in the lucrative illicit scheme.

Gül, however, said there was a debate to be had over whether the case was even legal under international law.


If the case results in fines for Turkish banks, then these should be paid for by confiscating more property belonging to members of the Fethullah Gülen movement, pro-government pundits Fuat Uğur and Cem Küçük said on news channel TGRT.

The movement, which is lead by an exile preacher in Pennsylvania, has been accused by the Turkish government of both being behind the July 2016 failed Turkish coup attempt and of creating fraudulent evidence it says was used in the Atilla case.