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    US Challenges Turkey by Politically Motivated Trials – Erdogan

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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - Washington poses a challenge to Ankara by adopting politically motivated judicial decisions, such as the conviction of Deputy CEO of Turkey's Halkbank Hakan Atilla, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

    “US institutions, through politically motivated decisions, challenge Turkey. I categorically disrespect and mistrust the decisions of the American judicial branch, related to the so-called trial on violation of the embargo,” Erdogan said at a meeting of the Turkish Judicial Council which was broadcast by the TRT broadcaster.

    The Turkish president once again accused the United States of protecting Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara considers to be behind the 2016 military takeover attempt.

    “We insist on the extradition of this terrorist, but those who patronize him, refuse. Meanwhile, they asked us to extradite 12 terrorists, and we extradited them. We forwarded 4,500 boxes with documents about FETO [the Gulen movement] to the United States. They have no respect for the rights and law,” Erdogan added.

    On January 4, acting US Attorney Joon Kim said that a jury unanimously convicted Atilla of a scheme to send billions of dollars to Iran in violation of US sanctions. Following the ruling, Ankara said the decision to convict the banker was unlawful.

    READ MORE: US Trial of Turkish Banker Part of Attempt to Stage New Coup in Turkey — Erdogan

    In March 2017, US authorities detained Atilla on suspicion of making a secret deal aimed at sending money to Iran in violation of anti-Tehran sanctions. The criminal proceedings against the banker were based on the testimony of Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian citizen who was arrested in the United States in March 2016 on suspicion of violating these sanctions and pledged guilty in November. He cooperated with US prosecutors, and testified against Atilla as well as Erdogan, saying that he could have been aware of the deal.

    On July 15, 2016, an attempted military coup took place in Turkey, leaving over 240 people killed. Ankara accused Gulen, who has been living in the United States since 1999, and his followers of orchestrating the attempt, while the cleric himself has refuted the allegations.

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    court, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, United States
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