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Turkey Summons FBI Official Over Turkish Police’s Testimony in US Case

National Police Department summoned an official representing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Turkey after a former Turkish police chief testified at a high-profile U.S. trial in New York City, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Huseyin Korkmaz, a former police investigator with Istanbul Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit, ruffled feathers in Turkey after he told at a Manhattan court that he provided evidence and material obtained during a previous corruption probe in late 2013 in Turkey to FBI.

The Anadolu said that the Turkish police summoned an unidentified FBI representative to get information about Mr. Korkmaz’s testimony and his cooperation with FBI.

Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Suleyman Aslan, former General Manager of Halkbank and former Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan are indicted by U.S. prosecutors for playing key roles in a scheme to skirt U.S. sanctions against Iran.

While Mr. Atilla appears as the only defendant in the case that rattled Turkey and significantly strained ties between the two NATO allies, Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab took the witness stand by choosing to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors in a move that baffled the Turkish leadership.

Mr. Zarrab told jurors that he got help from Turkey’s senior politicians for his gold trade that aimed at evading sanctions regime and facilitating Iran’s international payments through Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank. Mr. Zarrab said he paid 45 to 50 million euros of bribes to former economy minister and also bribed former Halkbank director Aslan.

Mr. Atilla pleaded not guilty during the case.

Turkey regarded the case as a plot to undermine Turkish economy and its leadership, vowing to bring the case to the U.N. over violation of its sovereignty. 

The police chief’s testimony in which he said he received $50,000 as financial aid from FBI buttressed the narrative of the Turkish government. Mr. Korkmaz said he did not seek any form of help or money from U.S. law enforcement officials, FBI, in return for his cooperation in the case. Still, he told the court, the U.S. authorities provided that amount of money to help him cover his expenses in New York City.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu argued that FBI’s financial assistance to former Turkish police officer was the most solid evidence that proved “the existence of a plot against Turkey.”

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