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EghtesadOnline: Turkey will take every initiative to protect its companies from US sanctions, Ankara’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday, a day after the United States imposed sanctions on several Iranian and Turkish companies in a move targeting Iranian airlines.

Hami Aksoy also told a news conference that Turkey had fulfilled all requirements to procure Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jets from the United States and that Ankara expected all sides to carry out their responsibilities, Reuters reported.

A US Senate committee passed its version of a $716 billion defense policy bill on Thursday, including a measure to prevent Turkey from purchasing the F-35 jets.

Turkey has been ensnared in the US sanctions regime against Iran on several occasions, according to Financial Tribune.

An indictment was announced September 6 in New York charging former economy minister, Zafer Caglayan, and three other Turkish nationals with violating US sanctions imposed on Iran.      

The charges stem from a probe into Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman arrested in the US last year for alleged sanctions evasion.  

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag defended Caglayan, stressing that trade relations between Turkey and Iran were legal in international and Turkish laws. 

“There is no commercial transaction [between Iran and Turkey] that is against national and international laws. It is definitely not possible to make [such a transaction],” Bozdag, who is also the Turkish government’s spokesman, said at a news conference in Ankara on Sept. 11.       

“If you ask what is trying to be done in the US regarding Reza Zarrab and now the issue that our honorable minister’s name is involved, the essence of the matter is this: The American judicial system is being used to repeat what the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization tried to do during the coup attempt of Dec. 17-25 [2013] and failed,” he added.

Bozdaq was referring to a previous attempt where the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen allegedly used members in the Turkish judicial system to attempt to topple the government through an alleged corruption scandal.      

Bozdag said Caglayan protected Turkey’s interests during the period and did his duty according to national and international laws.      

“There is a very different thing here … It is part of a very dirty game. There is no evidence; there are fabrications,” he said. 

Zarrab was arrested on March 21 last year in the US on fraud and Iran sanctions-related charges.  

He previously faced an investigation in Turkey in 2013 on charges of alleged illegal gold sales to Iran via Turkey, which resulted in his detention. The case was dismissed in 2014.

Earlier this month, a US court sentenced Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla to 32 months in prison, including the 14 months he has already served, over his role in helping Iran evade US economic sanctions.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry reacted to the sentencing by issuing a statement calling the trial against the Turkish state-run Halkbank employee “an entirely feigned process which is inconsistent with the principle of a fair trial”, AP reported.

The ministry alleged the US court relied on “forged evidence and false statements” from members of the network of a US-based cleric accused of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government.


US sanctions Iran Airlines