Ankara has slammed as meddling in its own affairs a New York court ruling that convicted a Turkish banker in connection with a massive scheme to help Iran evade US sanctions.

In this courtroom sketch, Assistant US Attorney David Denton points at defendant Mehmet Hakan Atilla, (R), during opening arguments of the trial, November 28, 2017, in New York federal court.
In this courtroom sketch, Assistant US Attorney David Denton points at defendant Mehmet Hakan Atilla, (R), during opening arguments of the trial, November 28, 2017, in New York federal court. (AP)

Ankara on Thursday slammed a US jury's decision to convict a Turkish banker for helping Iran evade sanctions as "unjust and unfortunate" and cast the trial as unprecedented interference in Turkey's internal affairs.

Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank, was convicted on five of six counts he faced, including bank fraud and conspiracy to violate US sanctions law, in a Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.

"It is an unjust and unfortunate development that Halkbank Deputy General Manager Mehmet Hakan Atilla was found guilty," Turkey's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The US court, in a process carried out by relying on so-called 'evidence', which is fake and open to political exploitation ... made an unprecedented interference in Turkey's internal affairs."

TRT World's Hasan Abullah reports from Ankara.

The US jury's decision to convict a Turkish banker for helping Iran evade sanctions does not carry any legal value for Turkey and is against international laws, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said in his reaction to the verdict.

In comments made on Twitter, Bozdag said on Thursday the decision was clear evidence that the United States, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had co-operated with the network of Fetullah Gulen, which is known as FETO (Fetullah Terrorist Organisation), the network that orchestrated the failed July 2016 coup.

Turkey's Halkbank said the US court in case of Turkish banker Hakan Atilla made no administrative or financial ruling on the bank.

Strained diplomatic relations

The decision, which capped a nearly four-week trial that had already strained diplomatic relations between Turkey and the United States, is only likely to add to the tension between the NATO allies.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who has yet to comment on the decision, has previously dismissed the case as a politically motivated attack on his government.

In a statement, Halkbank said Atilla had the right to appeal against the decision and said it had not been a party to the US case and noted there had been no financial or administrative decision taken against it by the court.

Halkbank has denied any wrongdoing and said that its transactions were in line with local and international regulations.

Shares of Halkbank were up two percent at 11.14 lira in Istanbul, after earlier advancing as much as four percent.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies