By Kemal Karadag
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul has sent a letter to his U.S. counterpart Jeff Sessions about the ongoing trial in New York of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy CEO of Turkey’s state-run lender Halkbank.
“We watch regrettably that this case, which was opened in order to protect the financial interests of the U.S., is proceeding to serve the purpose of completing an unfinished operation of a terrorist organization against Turkey,” he wrote.
Gul stated that accusations produced by illegal and baseless plots by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) to destroy the legitimate government of Turkey have been moved to the case.
"We are deeply saddened that the American legal system has been used as an instrument for such an organization,” he added.
Gul stated that the U.S. became a shelter for FETO ringleader Fetullah Gulen, which affected bilateral relations and the perspectives of international cooperation in combating terrorism.
He stated that while Turkey was expecting the extradition of FETO members, the U.S. protects the illegitimate efforts of the terrorist organization which, he stated, cannot be reconciled with bilateral relations between the two countries.
Pointing out that Turkey is struggling with security threats towards itself and the international community, Gul said Turkey expects the same sensitivity and sincerity from other countries.
In his letter Gul also said that Turkey is a country that fulfills its international obligations in combating terrorism.
The trial discusses internal political issues of Turkey, where baseless topics are reflected as real, Gul said.
"Finally, the fact that the former police supervisor Huseyin Korkmaz was heard as a witness at the court's hearing on Dec. 11, 2017 showed that from the beginning the concerns we have expressed about this case were not groundless," he said.
Huseyin Korkmaz, a fugitive alleged FETO member and former Turkish police supervisor, fled to the U.S. after being released in February 2016. He is currently testifying in a case against the former deputy CEO of Turkey's Halkbank.
Gul reminded that Korkmaz is a central figure of an investigation into Dec. 17-25 in 2013.
He refers to the FETO judicial coup attempt of Dec. 17-25, which led to the detention of prominent figures.
“Case is not legal”
Gul said it is a big scandal to bring Korkmaz, who is a fugitive and terror suspect, to the case as a witness.
“We are wondering which legal justifications let some of your state institutions to fund a terrorist wanted by Turkey,” he said.
Gul added that this case is tainted by the “fake and illegal” evidences by FETO members of judges, prosecutors and police.
Drawing attention to the fact that the former Chief Prosecutor, who was conducting the investigation, and the case Judge Richard Berman's statement before and after the proceedings explained that the content and legal grounds of the case had been preceded by the relations of these persons and FETO members.
“These things raised a deep suspicion in Turkish public about the U.S. courts’ respectability, impartiality and independence,” he said.
Gul asked his U.S. counterpart for the establishment of a fair trial in such a sensitive case.
He said FETO's efforts to direct and use this case should not be preferred by the U.S. over the “valuable alliance” between the two countries.