Ilhan Tanir, Washington DCFormer US Attorney for New York South District, Preet Bharara, during a podcast program ”Stay tuned with Preet” on October 19th, stated that ”there is an interesting swirl of information between Turkish President Erdogan, fired National Security Adviser Flynn, defendant Zarrab and Trump’s White House.”
Mr. Zarrab is accused of facilitating hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions on behalf of the Iranian government, businesses, and other sanctioned entities through the use of false documents and shell companies to evade US sanctions and pleaded not guilty. He has been jailed since march of 2016 in the US. The US authorities say those transactions are a breach of U.S. and international sanctions. Some of Erdogan’s close allies such as former Finance Minister between 2010-2014, Mr. Zafer Caglayan has been indicted in addition to other 8 suspects in the same case.
Bharara was the prosecutor filed the indictment against Reza Zarrab for the first time when he was the New York South District US Attorney in March of 2016. President Erdogan many times attacked Bharara as member or abetter of terrorist organization, “FETO” or Gulenist Group.
Washington Post’s national security writer David Ignatius, 10 days ago, in a column, claimed that President Erdogan at a meeting with then Vice President Joe Biden on September 21st, 2016, asked Biden to fire then US Attorney Bharara for being “Gulenist tool” and devoted 45 minutes of 90 minute meeting to Zarrab’s case. Bharara, on CNN few days later, confirmed the reporting saying that he heard similar stuff from some people participated that meeting.
On October 19th podcast, Bharara responded to a question coming from follower on the same subject, started by asking that why would a leader of a foreign country ask a local attorney to be fired? Bharara added that “the reason goes back to prosecution that is still pending at my old office. US vs Reza Zarrab. Zarrab is an Iranian national but Turkish resident. Who is a gold trader, a close associate of Erdogan and a lot of his cronies, who we allege violated Iranian sanctions for a lot of money. President Erdogan made it clear that he is not happy with the case and wants the case to go away. Presumably the way he thinks is that the way business done in his country he wants to be done in this country. I believe Ignatius’ reporting of Joe Biden meeting is true, because I heard it at the time. Though no basis to believe it is true and someone followed Erdogan’s advice. First of all if it is true, it would be futile and useless. Joon Kim (acting US Attorney) is with all career prosecutors would be pursuing the case.
But it raises interesting question giving the relationship Trump forged with increasingly authoritarian President Erdogan and the relationship many newspapers reported between fired general Flynn had with Turkish government, where presumably these kind of conversations about dismissal of righteous case may have happened as well as to firing US attorney. I dont know what’s the truth and consequences of these meetings.
”Though there is an interesting swirl of information that involves President Erdogan, fired General Flynn, defendant Zarrab and Trump’s White House.”
Bharara added that Erdogan publicly accused him for visiting Turkey and fomenting a coup there. Bharara denied any involvement with July 15th coup attempt and stated he never set a foot in Turkey. “The closest I got a turkey” Bharara said “was on a Thanksgiving Day.”