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"Politicians from Turkey and the U.S. comment two countries relationship and current problems, foresight future relations... Presidents, Prime  Ministers, Ministers and Members of Parlement  all speak to TURKOFAMERICA, share their experiences and views with our readers. All exclusive interview from Ankara and Washington, D.C...  

 

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Jailhouse Transcript Reveals Zarrab’s Bargain with US Judiciary

"Ahad, it is not like that. I am telling you. Here, when you come around and say 'OK, yes, I did this s***,' look, this leaves you in peace. Once you confessed, they do not mess up with you." This was the exact sentence and an apparent confession of a plea bargain between the U.S. judiciary and Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who is now a witness in a trial held in New York on now-lifted U.S. sanctions against Iran. Just like Turkey has charged from the beginning, it was revealed late Monday with the transcript of Zarrab's jailhouse call with his uncle, who goes by the name "Ahad," that the businessman has been involved in a clear bargain with U.S. authorities.

McMaster Deepens America’s Isolation

On Tuesday evening, U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. H. R. McMaster spoke at Policy Exchange in Washington, recalled that "radical Islamist ideology is a grave threat to all civilized people" and singled out Turkey and Qatar as its main supporters today. The allegation sparked an outrage on Turkish Twitter and among senior officials in the Turkish capital of Ankara. To be clear, Mr. McMaster's remarks had nothing to do with "radical Islamist ideology" at all. Here's what makes the United States unhappy right now: First, the Astana process, which Turkey launched in cooperation with Russia and Iran, has rendered the U.S.-backed Geneva talks obsolete. At the same time, Turkey decided to purchase the S-400 air defense system from Russia instead of buying Patriot missiles from the United States. Finally, the Turks have been critical of Washington's plans to form a united front against Iran in the Middle East – featuring Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and others.

Turkish Security HQ Summons FBI Representative

By Sibel Ugurlu, ANKARA - AA-  Turkey-based FBI agent was summoned to General Directorate of Security in Ankara, a security official said on Wednesday. The FBI agent was summoned after Huseyin Korkmaz, a fugitive and former Turkish police supervisor, testified in a U.S. case against Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla. Korkmaz was arrested for his links to Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and released in February 2016. He fled to the U.S. in August with the documents related to FETO's judicial coup attempt of Dec. 17-25, 2013 in his possession.

US ‘Committed to Its Strategic Partnership with Turkey’

By Michael Hernandez - WASHINGTON -AA -  The U.S. said Wednesday it is "committed to its strategic partnership with Turkey to bring stability to the region and defeat terrorism in all its forms" amid a row sparked by comments from a senior Trump administration official. "We appreciate Turkey’s efforts to increase its border security, stem the flow of foreign fighters through its territory and fight on the ground to clear ISIS from key towns in Syria," a National Security Council spokesman told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or Daesh.

What Is Atilla Case In the US About?

The US case against the Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab turned against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the former deputy CEO of Turkey's Halkbank, after Zarrab pleaded guilty and made an agreement with the New York prosecutor’s office. A US prosecutor ordered the arrest of an Iranian-Turkish businessman in March 2016 for breaching US sanctions on Iran. After two months, those sanctions were lifted. Preet Bharara announced in a social media post, “Reza Zarrab to soon face American justice in a Manhattan courtroom.” Zarrab has been under arrest for more than 22 months, and has been accused of money laundering, and fraud against the US and its banking system. However, before the first day of his trial, his role was changed from a defendant to a witness.  

Zarrab Spoke of the Need 'To Lie to Get Out of Prison' - Defence Lawyers

Reza Zarrab's has proclaimed his willingness to lie in exchange for leniency, according to a letter submitted in court by the lawyers for Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who is charged with scheming to violate US sanctions against Iran. In a September 2016 recording, Zarrab is quoted as saying that there was a perceived need when incarcerated in the US to lie "in order to get out or to get a reduced sentence" and that "you need to admit to crimes you haven't committed" to get out of prison, the lawyers said.

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Zarrab Acts As Witness During Atilla Trial, Cooperates with US Prosecutors

Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab on Wednesday accepted all charges that he was accused of and agreed to cooperate with US prosecutors against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the deputy general manager of Turkey's Halkbank. The businessman was detained last year on charges of violating sanctions against Iran while Atilla was arrested in the US earlier this year on similar charges of sanctions violations. US prosecutors have charged nine people in the case, although only Zarrab and Atilla have been arrested by US authorities. The hearing began on Tuesday after US District Judge Richard Berman rejected a request by Atilla’s lawyers for a two-week delay.

Zarrab Says He Paid $45,000 Bribe to US Prison Guard

Reza Zarrab said on Tuesday that he paid a $45,000 bribe to a US prison guard to obtain alcohol and use the guard's phone to speak with his wife, daughter and lawyer. During a hearing at a Manhattan court in the trial of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Zarrab who is cooperating with US prosecutors, testified that he got the money through a Turkish attorney whom he did not identify. The US Bureau of Prisons could not immediately be reached for comment. Zarrab is the key US government witness in its case against Atilla, an executive at Turkey's Halkbank who is charged with scheming to violate US sanctions against Iran. He has pleaded not guilty. Zarrab testified on Tuesday under cross-examination by Atilla's attorney, Cathy Fleming, that he and Atilla did not like each other.

Reza Zarrab Testifies for Seven Days in "US Against Atilla" Case

On November 28, US prosecutors on “the US against Reza Zarrab” case revealed that Zarrab had gone from being a defendant in the case to a witness. Zarrab, a businessman who holds both Iranian and Turkish citizenship, made an agreement with the prosecutor’s office and pleaded guilty. He put former deputy CEO of Turkish state-run Halkbank at the centre of all accusations. “By testifying against Mehmet [Hakan] Atilla, Zarrab hopes he can buy freedom, a shortcut back to his lavish life with the rich and famous. He’s a liar, a cheater, a corrupter of men on a staggering scale…a one-man crime wave,” said Victor Rocco, the attorney of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who has denied any wrongdoing. Zarrab’s testimony started in Federal District Court in Manhattan the following day on December 29.

Reza Zarrab Details Money Laundering Scheme for Iran

By Brendan Pierson - NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Turkish-Iranian gold trader described in a U.S. court on Wednesday how he ran a sprawling international money laundering scheme aimed at helping Iran get around U.S. sanctions and spend its oil and gas revenues abroad. Reza Zarrab, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with U.S. prosecutors in the criminal trial of a Turkish bank executive, told jurors in federal court in Manhattan that he helped Iran use funds deposited in Turkey's state-owned Halkbank to buy gold, which was smuggled to Dubai and sold for cash. The testimony, given through Turkish interpreters, came on the second day of the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who has pleaded not guilty.

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