Turkey Calls US Trial of Turkish Banker ‘legal disgrace’

Turkey on Thursday slammed the conviction in New York of a Turkish banker accused of helping Iran evade sanctions as a “legal disgrace.”

A day after Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a 47-year-old deputy general manager of state-run Halkbank was found guilty of five counts including bank fraud, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Bekir Bozdağ, took to Twitter to describe the trial as a “political conspiracy” of “no legal value to Turkey.”

The trial of Atilla, which included testimony suggesting high-level corruption in Turkey, has strained ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesman İbrahim Kalın said: “This is a scandalous verdict in a scandalous trial.”

Among the charges that stuck, Atilla was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States. He was acquitted of a money laundering charge.

Turkey’s foreign ministry also accused U.S. government officials of helping people linked to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen make false claims and provide false evidence a reference to reports that a former Turkish deputy police chief told the jury during his testimony that the FBI paid him $50,000 and U.S. prosecutors covered his rent.

292 Comments