Turkey, Politics

Erdogan compares Sarraf case to 2013 plot against govt

Turkish president says case of Turkish businessman is a plot against Turkey just like the one in Dec. 2013

Erdogan compares Sarraf case to 2013 plot against govt

By Emin Avundukluoglu


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday compared the case of Riza Sarraf -- a Turkish businessman jailed in the U.S. pending trial -- to the Dec. 17-25, 2013 plot against government ministers and leading businesspeople. 

Speaking to the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's lawmakers in the parliament, Erdogan recalled that one of most important plots in history was set up against Turkey nearly four years ago.

He was referring to a so-called graft probe against top government officials to overthrow Turkey’s elected government followed by a large-scale raid on Dec. 17-25, 2013, which led to the detention of prominent figures.

The government denounced the probe as a plot by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization's (FETO) U.S.-based-leader Fetullah Gulen, who orchestrated the July 15, 2016 defeated coup attempt in Turkey that left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

"When this plot failed, they set up the same plot in the U.S.," Erdogan said.

Sarraf was arrested last year on alleged fraud and Iran sanctions-related charges.

Turkey has recently launched a probe into two American lawyers, including a former attorney and a current attorney in the U.S. who are currently involved in a case against Turkish citizens in New York.

The Public Prosecutor's Office in Istanbul on Saturday accused former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara and current U.S. attorney Joon H. Kim for the southern district of New York of using information and documents from previous investigations in Turkey for an ongoing case in the U.S.

Bharara, who had launched a probe against Turkish businessman Riza Sarraf, was fired on March 11.

Joon H. Kim is the acting U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York.

US arming of PKK/PYD

Erdogan said Turkey was concerned over U.S. politics in the region.

"You said that you have cleared Daesh. Why are the armed trucks still coming to Syria, why is it continuing?

"Against which country are your forming this army? Why do you do this? We clearly know what's going on," he said, referring to the U.S. arming of PKK/PYD terrorist organization in Syria.

"Nobody can expect Turkey to stand idle with its hands tied in such a situation. Turkey has taken action against Daesh, a group which was presented as an undefeated monster for years," he added.

In a wide-ranging Euphrates Shield Operation launched last summer, the Free Syrian Army -- with the support of the Turkish army -- cleared 2,000 square kilometers of land along the Turkish-Syrian border of terrorist elements.

The PYD and its military YPG wing are Syrian branches of the PKK, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years.

Since the PKK launched its terror campaign in Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands of people have been killed, including more than 1,200 since July 2015 alone.

The U.S. and the coalition have largely ignored the PYD/PYG links to the PKK, which the U.S., EU, and Turkey list as a terrorist group.

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