President Erdogan says US case against Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-born Turkish businessman, is same as December 17-25 judicial coup attempt carried out by Fetullah Gulen Terror Organisation against Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday compared the case of Reza Zarrab – a Turkish-Iranian businessman jailed in the US pending trial – to the December 17-25, 2013 judicial coup attempt set up by Fetullah Gulen Terror Organisation (FETO) against Turkish government ministers and leading businessmen.
Speaking to the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party's lawmakers in the parliament, Erdogan recalled that one of the biggest plots in the republic's history was orchestrated nearly four years ago.
"One of the biggest traps in Turkey's history was set up during the December 17-25 operations under the guise of law. As this attempt failed through our nation's resilience, the same trap has now been set up in the US," Erdogan said.
Erdogan was referring to a so-called graft probe against top government officials to overthrow Turkey’s democratically elected government which was followed by a large-scale raid on December 17-25, 2013, leading to the detention of prominent figures.
The government denounced the probe as a plot by FETO headed by US-based Fetullah Gulen, who is responsible for orchestrating the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey that left 250 dead and more than 2,200 injured.
"When this plot failed, they set up the same plot in the US," Erdogan said.
Zarrab was arrested last year in Miami on alleged fraud and Iran sanctions-related charges.
Turkey's former economy minister and former general manager of state-owned Halkbank Zafer Caglayan were also charged with conspiring to evade US sanctions on Iran.
Turkey has recently launched a probe into two American lawyers, including a former attorney and a current attorney in the US who are currently involved in a case against Turkish citizens in New York.
They were scheduled to stand trial on November 27, but the trial has been postponed to December 4.
The Public Prosecutor's Office in Istanbul on Saturday accused former US attorney Preet Bharara and current US attorney Joon H. Kim for the southern district of New York of using information and documents from previous investigations in Turkey for an ongoing case in the US.
Bharara, who had launched a probe against Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, was fired on March 11.
Joon H. Kim is the acting United States Attorney for the southern district of New York.
PKK-YPG different sides of the same coin
The president also reiterated Turkey's concerns regarding the US policies in Syria, saying that the creation and destruction of Daesh terrorists raise questions.
"You claimed that you have cleared Daesh. Then how come arms-laden trucks are still heading to Syria?" referring to the US-supplied weapons to YPG, whom the Ankara considers to be PKK terror group's Syrian affiliate.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and EU.
"Nobody can expect Turkey to stand idle with its hands tied in such a situation. Turkey has taken action against Daesh, a group which was presented as an undefeated monster for years," he added.
In a wide-ranging Euphrates Shield Operation launched last summer, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) – with the support of the Turkish Armed Forces – cleared 2,000 sq km of land along the Turkish-Syrian border of terrorist elements.