World Is Doomed Because of U.S. Justice System, Turkey's President Warns

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the U.S. justice system on Friday after a prominent Turkish banker was convicted of evading Iran sanctions in a trial that has strained the U.S. government's relations with NATO's largest Muslim country.  Getty Images

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the U.S. justice system on Friday after a prominent Turkish banker was convicted of profiting by evading the sanctions on Iran, in a trial that has strained the U.S. government's relations with NATO's largest Muslim country.

The trial included testimony that alleged corruption among high-level Turkish officials, including Erdoğan, Reuters reported. Erdoğan accused the U.S. of using the trial and conviction as a means of undermining his country's economy and leadership. "If this is the U.S. understanding of justice, then the world is doomed," Erdoğan said during a news conference.

"The bilateral accords between us are losing their validity. I am saddened to say this, but this is how it will be from now on," he continued. "The United States is carrying out a chain of plots, and these are not just legal but also economic plots." The Turkish leader called on the U.S. to reconsider the verdict.

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President Donald Trump (right) reaches to shake Turkey's President Tayyip Erdoğan's (left) hand before a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on September 21, 2017, in New York City. Getty Images

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Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Halkbank, was convicted on five of six counts, including bank fraud. He was acquitted on a charge of money laundering.

The verdict comes roughly a week after the U.S. and Turkey mutually lifted visa restrictions put in place amid a months-long diplomatic dispute linked to a failed coup in Turkey in 2016. Erdoğan has accused Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric who resides in the U.S., of being behind the coup. The U.S. government's reluctance to extradite Gülen has strained its relations with Turkey.

Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, called on the U.S. to honor the Turkish government's extradition request in an op-ed published by Foreign Policy in May. "Fetullah Gülen, who was declared by his cult as the 'Imam of the Universe,' has attempted to destroy democracy in Turkey. The people of Turkey expect the U.S. authorities to take effective legal measures against this threat to our security and democracy, as an ally should," Çavuşoğlu wrote.

There had been some signs that President Donald Trump would honor the request, but Gülen now lives in Pennsylvania.

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World Is Doomed Because of U.S. Justice System, Turkey's President Warns | World