Published On: Tue, Nov 28th, 2017

Could Zarrab case in USA end up with political consequences for Turkey?

Could Zarrab case in USA end up with political consequences for Turkey?

The trial of Iranian and Turkish citizen Reza ZARRAB (gold trader) and the selection of the jury is on the agenda of the US press nowadays. On the other hand it goes without saying that the issue is very much on the agenda in Turkey as well to include conversations among citizens even at public places such as cafes etc.

It is reported by some sources that Reza SARRAB may have begun to cooperate with the prosecutor’s office, and provide evidence of corruption regarding officials at high positions. In fact some American media organizations, claimed earlier that ZARRAB had started a cooperating with the prosecutor’s office when he was not present at the final preliminary hearing on November 16, before the Jury trial. Nevertheless, the prosecutors are expected to continue the legal process for former Halkbank Deputy General Director Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who is in detention with Sarraf, in any case. On the other hand it is reported that there are seven other people accused in the case and they are not caught yet.

Regarding the case to be held in Manhattan New York, The Turkish President says the same plot set up against him in Turkey on 17th-25th December 2013, is now set up in USA. The question at this point is “what consequences could this case bring along for Turkey and its administration?”

Some political experts comment that in case ZARRAB witnesses and steps against the Turkish banks involved in the case, it could have political consequences for Turkey and its President (AKP leader, simultaneously). Just to remind, when ZARRAB did not take part in the final preliminary hearing, Turkish government officials required information from the USA as to where he was, although Turkey has been trying to radiate the impression and create publicity that the case and a possible testimony to be delivered by ZARRAB against Turkey would be of no value.

ZARRAB, who has been in prison since 19 March 2016, is accused of illegally sanctioning US sanctions imposed on Iran, deceiving US institutions, and laundering of illicit money.

The critical issue here is if ZARRAB case, which “might include top Turkish officials,” may raise the already rising tension between Turkey and the United States. Although “Turkish officials claim that Turkish banks have not been involved in any illegal activities and the case is a US plan to harm Erdogan this incident has also taken on the business world and Ankara might be concerned that the claims about Turkish banks involved in the case could damage the reputation of the financial markets of the country and scare foreign investors and thus increase the cost of borrowing for Turkey. In fact, the Turkish lira has already depreciated by 13% against the US dollar in the past two months, and some experts blame for this the growing tension between the two countries.

Documents in possession of the prosecutor’s office are said to include records of telephone conversations and written statements presented as evidence to the court in corruption operations in Turkey on December 17-25, 2013. AK PARTY on the other hand argues that the 17-25 December operations were nothing more than a plot against ERDOGAN, carried out by police officers and prosecutors manipulated by Fethullah GÜLEN, head of the illegal organization alleged to have organized the failed coup attempt in 2016.

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