Turkey says US conviction of banker is interference in internal affairs

Turkey says US conviction of banker is interference in internal affairs

Turkey said a U.S. jury’s decision to convict a Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla for helping Iran evade sanctions was an unprecedented interference in its internal affairs, and dismissed the court case as a political plot.

Atilla, an executive at Turkey’s majority state-owned Halkbank, was convicted on five of six counts in a Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, including bank fraud and conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions law.

"It is an unjust and unfortunate development that Halkbank Deputy General Manager Mehmet Hakan Atilla was found guilty," Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The U.S. court, in a process carried out by relying on so-called ‘evidence’, which is fake and open to political exploitation, ... made an unprecedented interference in Turkey’s internal affairs," Reuters cited the statement as saying.

Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said that the US jury's decision held no legal value for Turkey and was against international laws.

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