NATO’s Trojan Horse Rolls Toward Washington

Erdogan met with the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on January 29, 2014.
Erdogan met with the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on January 29, 2014.

Erdogan’s Second Home Iran, America’s Greatest Enemy

When Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with President Donald Trump on May 16 in Washington, two controversial leaders meet at decisive points in their administrations. Both appear to be coming off political victories, in Trump’s case, his achievements during his first 100 days and in Erdogan’s case, his controversial winning of a national referendum in April that granted him expanded authority. But that would obscure the fact that Erdogan is needy, and President Trump is not. Erdogan desperately needs international recognition after a recent slim controversial win in the referendum. Although Erdogan feels strong with the new powers, he faces a raft of complications abroad, including providing weapons and logistical support to jihadi terrorist groups [1], his family’s ties with the illicit ISIS oil trade [2] and his direct involvement with violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, money laundering [3] and financing the Iranian Revolutionary Guards [4]. At this time though, Erdogan’s main concern is cutting a deal with Trump on the case of a Turkish-Iranian dual citizen who handled the illegal trade with Iran and to kill the case against him in a New York court.

Only if we recognize Erdogan’s ideological and illegitimate financial ties with the Mullah regime in Iran, would it be possible to see the big picture in the region and understand the muddy deals behind the scenes.

The president of Turkey called Iran his “second home” when he met with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on January 29, 2014 [5]. The received tradition of Turkish statecraft toward Iran had been to encourage a cautious distance, especially after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 which established Tehran as a threat to Turkey’s secular state establishment. The Ottoman, throughout the history, never trusted Iran, always kept a distance and imposed sanctions. Ottoman authorities in 1874 even banned intermarriage between Turkish women and Iranian men regardless of their religion [6]. This historical tradition has been altered by Erdogan slowly in two important ways.

First is the existence of established pro-Iranian senior Justice and Development Party (AKP) members who are close to Erdogan and have critical positions within the party and the government. Second, Erdogan, his son and son-in-law have implemented personal, corrupt trade deals with Iran, allowing the family quickly to acquire millions in assets as a result of the U.S.-imposed embargo on Iranian exports.

Top Leaders of Erdogan’s Iran Cartel

Besir Atalay, a former Interior Minister and one of the prominent voices of the AKP, was arrested in Erzurum, Turkey on April 27, 1983, during an operation targeting an Iranian spy network in Turkey [7]. An official National Police report sent to Erzurum Ataturk University where he used to work as an academician warned the University administration about his ties with the Iranian regime [8]. Later on, he had to leave the Kirikkale University in 1997 due to similar charges by the Council of Higher Education [9].

Hakan Fidan is the former Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) president, former undersecretary of the Prime Ministry (the highest bureaucratic position in Turkey) and the current director of the Turkish National Intelligence (MIT). The MIT was exposed by major Turkish media to be behind the weapons transfers to the terrorist organizations in Syria on Adana highway in 2014. Fidan’s name was found in a Hezbollah associated cell after a raid by the Turkish National Police in 2000. The operation (operation Umut) was related to the murders of prominent Cumhuriyet newspaper journalists Ugur Mumcu and Ahmet Taner Kislali, and a Turkish academic, Bahriye Ucok, who were all killed by a foreign terrorist cell called “Jerusalem Army” with ties to Turkish Hezbollah. Turkish National Police sent a secret report to the Turkish Military Chief of Staff on January 15, 2001, regarding Fidan’s connections with the Turkish Hezbollah operation and Jerusalem Army [10]. Coincidentally, Fidan left Turkey immediately after this operation in 2001 and established residence in Europe.

Faruk Koca, a prominent businessman and allegedly a confidante of Erdogan, is among the AKP founders and was an AKP parliament member between 2002 and 2011. Koca was also associated with Hezbollah in the same operation with Fidan in 2000, and he was a suspect in 2014 Selam Tevhid Iranian spy network operation carried out by the Istanbul Police [11]. According to the police indictment, Koca was acting as the middleman between the Iranian spy chief and some prominent AKP members including Fidan [12]. Erdogan lived in Koca’s house in Kecioren, Ankara for around ten years during his term as Prime Minister.

Additionally, there are several other prominent AKP members (like the former Interior Minister Efgan Ala [13]) or people close to Erdogan who are known for their close ties with Iran. Many were suspects in 2014 Selam Tevhid Iranian spy network operation [14] which was abruptly and forcefully halted by Erdogan after December 2013 corruption charges against his son and his close circles.

These secret relationship webs with Iranian officials shifted Turkey’s policies regarding Iran. Turkey has become warmer and closer to Iran during the AKP-dominant period. This shift has manifested in abrupt and strange government actions which were deemed odd by the public at the times they were introduced.

For example, the Turkish Airlines (THY) started to hire Iranian pilots and hostesses [15] in 2014. Turkey signed an education agreement with Iran and pledged to open a joint University in 2012 which seemed inexplicable at the time and provided several advantages to Iran according to several experts who talked to Sozcu newspaper[16]. Witness AKP’s attempt to hire more than 2000 nurses for Turkish hospitals even though thousands of Turkish nurses were unemployed [17].

Another example is Turkey’s hard-to-explain backing of Iran during the Iranian 2010 nuclear crisis and Turkey’s veto vote on sanctions against Iran at the UN Security Council. “The new resolution, hailed by President Obama as delivering “the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government,” took months to negotiate and major concessions by American officials, but still failed to carry the symbolic weight of a unanimous decision. Twelve of the 15 nations on the Council voted for the measure, while Turkey and Brazil voted against it and Lebanon abstained [18].”

The Economic Jihad: Financial schemes with Iran, Corruption and International Security

The Significance of Economic Jihad of Ayatollah Khamenei’s Point of View
The Significance of Economic Jihad of Ayatollah Khamenei’s Point of View

Recall that President Obama a sanctions bill against Iran in 2010 and subsequently introduced tougher sanctions in 2012[19]. Iranian banks were disconnected from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) in March 2012[20] because of the international sanctions against Tehran regarding its nuclear program. The sanctions crippled Iranian economy due to the fact that the cancellation of the SWIFT halted all money transfers to Iran. Iran could not openly trade anymore while its money transfer routes were blocked and could not get payment for oil sold in the past.

However, closing the door to Iranian banks’ SWIFT code opened the door for Erdogan. He immediately established a grand scheme to make Iran’s loss his massive profit. Erdogan facilitated some Turkish banks to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran[21]. He worked directly with Suleyman Aslan, the director of Halkbank, to facilitate money transfers to Iran. Bank officials and the press considered Erdogan’s direct working with Aslan to be immensely bizarre and of course informal as he was the CEO of the bank, but there were ministerial undersecretaries, finance minister and deputy ministers between Erdogan and him. There are several hierarchical layers of managers between Erdogan and Aslan, but Erdogan has never worked with anyone in between, including the Minister of Finance and others, opting to work directly with Aslan, meeting with him as needed and ordering Aslan to carry out illegal transactions to evade Iranian sanctions. In this scheme, Reza Zarrab was the key person An Iranian-Turkish businessman arrested by the FBI in March 2016 and who is currently in a federal jail in New York[22]. Erdogan used him as the middleman between Iran and Turkey while transferring funds and later on gold[23].

Zarrab would also speak to Aslan, and whenever he had problems with transactions, he often reached out to Erdogan to assist him to overcome the obstacles. Zarrab basically worked to transfer Iranian oil balances between Turkey and Halkbank. He also transferred gold to Iran in order to cover the payments where they could not pay all the balances by transferring funds.

Of course, Erdogan, Aslan, and three other ministers got their shares from these transfers. Those illegal activities are detailed in both the Turkish criminal case and in a parallel New York federal criminal case against Zarrab, who is in jail in New York. Erdogan got a direct share from these transactions as a commission, but at the same time, he got bribes by using his family members as proxies. The details of the operation have been presented by the FBI and the NY Federal prosecutor’s indictment. Three ministers, Egemen Bagis, Muammer Guler and Zafer Caglayan[24], received millions of dollars from Zarrab as bribes, and they had to resign after the Istanbul operations. The evidence against them in those case files is overwhelming, and in most cases, video recordings and phone tapes document the bribe taking.

In fact, on the day of the operation on December 17, 2013, when Erdogan first heart of the corruption operation, the first thing he did was to call his son Bilal in Istanbul. Erdogan was in Konya then and he also immediately sent his daughter Sumeyye to help Bilal. Erdogan ordered his son to get rid of the cash they stashed in their Istanbul villa according to the leaked phone wiretappings[25]. Bilal asked several times to his father how to get rid of the money as it was over one billion dollars and because it would be impossible to hide that amount of money easily. They also immediately started to shred documents in order not to leave evidence[26].

Hard to Hide Billions in Cash

One Billion Dollars: How Much Is It and What Does It Look Like?
One Billion Dollars: How Much Is It and What Does It Look Like?

On the day of the corruption operation, together with Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law and current Turkish Minister of Energy, they spent the whole day dispersing and hiding the cash. Eventually, Sumeyye, Bilal, and Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat[27] managed to hide and disperse more than one billion dollars in cash. However, they could not find any place for the Euros they had, which was more than twenty-five million. Eventually, they decided to purchase eight villas from a prestigious project in Istanbul. Of course, the Erdogan family immediately denied that purchase but a few months later, it was revealed that the villas were registered in the name of Berat[28].

Similarly, the bribes taken by Suleyman Arslan were found by investigators at his home in shoe boxes. He told police that the money was collected from people to open an Imam Hatip, a high school for religious education. Let that sink in: the CEO of one of the biggest banks in Turkey was hiding cash stocks in shoe boxes at his home. Also, millions of dollars were confiscated from the sons of the three ministers which were also received as bribes, mostly from Reza Zarrab.

Moreover, related to the Zarrab case, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the deputy CEO of Halk Banka was arrested by the FBI on March 28, 2017, while he was departing the United States from the JFK airport in New York. He was accused of conspiring with Zarrab to evade sanctions against Iran and to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through the U.S. banks on behalf of Iran and its companies[29]. This arrest became a major blow to Erdogan as he was assuming that the Zarrab case would eventually be dropped. It is alleged that Erdogan himself, his wife and son, Bilal, will also be listed as suspects in the indictment. However, the names of the suspects have not been released yet, pending the U.S. Justice Department announcement[30] and the indictment details[31].

Reza Zarrab, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Mehmet Hakan Atilla
Reza Zarrab, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Mehmet Hakan Atilla

After Zarrab’s arrest, Erdogan immediately targeted the police and judiciary and openly argued that the investigation was part of an attempted coup against him. He first purged police and prosecutors he suspected in 2014 and then had them arrested. He closed all the cases one by one and had the suspects, including Reza Zarrab and sons of the ministers released from prisons[32]. The investigations launched on Dec. 17, 2013, were directly related to the corruption schemes involving Iran and Erdogan and the Iranian network established inside the Turkish bureaucracy to facilitate the transfer of Iranian funds to Iran through different means by paying commissions to Erdogan and his close circles. The U.S. case and Turkish cases are almost identical, and the FBI evidence is in line with the Turkish National Police evidence. In fact, the amounts of the bribes paid to the ministers are the same in these two separate indictments.

Erdogan also helped Zarrab to facilitate fake trades to Iran, mostly billing Iran for food and medicine which were not sanctioned, but either shipping nothing or false amounts. “This was used to justify shipments of cash and gold to Turkey through Zarrab.”[33]

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were involved with this scheme. The Iranian middleman, Babek Zanjani, was later arrested and accused of money laundering, forgery, fraud and disrupting the country’s economy[34] and charged with crimes that would have been sanctioned with capital punishment because he stole the State’s money. He was eventually sentenced to death on March 2016[35]. In his statements during the trials, Zanjani claimed that the $2.25 billion missing money which was supposed to be transferred to Iran had in fact been paid as bribes and commissions to Turkish officials. According to reports on his trial, Zanjani claimed to have distributed $8.5 billion dollars as bribes[36] in Turkey.

The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement on March 21, 2016 and explained this scheme based on a letter prepared by Zarrab as follows: “on or about Dec. 3, 2011, Zarrab and Najafzadeh (Zarrab’s co-conspirator) received a draft letter in Farsi prepared for Zarrab’s signature and addressed to the general manager of the Central Bank of Iran. The letter stated, in part, that “[t]he role of the Supreme Leader and the esteemed officials and employees of Markazi Bank [the Central Bank of Iran] play against the sanctions, wisely neutralizes the sanctions and even turns them into opportunities by using specialized methods.” The letter goes on to state, in part, “[i]t is not secret that the trend is moving towards intensifying and increasing the sanctions, and since the wise leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran has announced this to be the year of the Economic Jihad, the Zarrab family, which has had a half a century of experience in foreign exchange, . . . considers it to be our national and moral duty to declare our willingness to participate in any kind of cooperation in order to implement monetary and foreign exchange anti-sanction policies . . . [37].”

The New York District Attorney’s office stated during a court hearing that Zarrab – in the second indictment – had helped the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in Syria and Iraq noting that this was a U.S. national security matter[38]. The District Attorney’s office stated that “the entities that benefited from this alleged scheme include the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and agents or affiliates of that entity, Iranian banks that have been sanctioned for their role in providing financing for Iran’s nuclear programs, and Iranian commercial airlines” and adding the prosecutors “would prove Zarrab and co-conspirators worked with high-level government and banking officials in Iran and Turkey after offering those services to Iran in a letter personally addressed to then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.[39]”

Erdogan’s Attempt to corrupt American Justice System

Erdogan’s connections with Iran are key factors needed in order to evaluate Erdogan’s case to the American president. Even during the time the U.S. has been discussing to list the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization[40], the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been the primary beneficiaries of the corruption schemes established by Erdogan. Quite apart from enriching his family through fraud, Erdogan knowingly and willingly assisted Iran and transferred funds which were used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to further their terrorist activities in the region. Erdogan cannot be trusted because he backstabbed the Americans by working with Iran while the U.S. was trying to impose sanctions and slow down the Iranian ambitions. Instead of allying himself with the U.S., Erdogan openly opted for his second home – the Iranian Islamic Republic[41].

Erdogan[42] and his family members[43] are expected to be the prime suspects of the New York District Attorney’s case against Zarrab as the trial progress. This is the reason Zarrab’s attorneys have been trying to delay the hearings. Reza Zarrab, who was arrested on March 19, 2016, has been joined in jail since March 18 by Mr. Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the Deputy CEO of Halkbank, who is suspected of serving as a collaborator. As the hearings start on August 21, 2017, Zarrab and Atilla are expected to testify, most probably against Erdogan to save themselves about how they received direct orders, support, and backing from him to break the sanctions regime against Iran.

Of course, Erdogan is not standing still. He is pouring millions of dollars into a public-relations campaign to influence the American justice system with his ill-gotten gains. He tried last year to work with the former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Erdogan’s deal with Flynn was cut short when the general lost the president’s trust during the January flap about alleged Russian interference with the U.S. elections.

But Gen. Flynn was not the only hireling in the President’s inner circle. Erdogan also hired former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and major Trump ally and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey as a lobbyist and lawyer. Mr. Giuliani, who registered on October 2016 as an agent of the Republic of Turkey based on the foreign agents registration act of 1938 is trying to work on the Zarrab case with Mukasey to help Erdogan in the Zarrab case. Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mukasey secretly visited Erdogan in his palace at the end of February 2017 in Ankara.

Erdogan needs team Giuliani’s help for two reasons. First, Erdogan needs a communication channel with Zarrab, and only an attorney-client privilege could open a back-channel communication door for Erdogan to communicate with Zarrab and give him some guarantees to ensure he is doing his best to save him. Secondly, Erdogan knows that he is going to be one of the prime suspects in that case. Erdogan is the one who ordered to evade the Iranian sanctions to assist Iran, and he knows very well that Zarrab is going to testify against him unless he saves him from prison[44]. So, he is using Giuliani to reach to Mr. Trump and trying to cut a deal towards that direction.

The strategy of Giuliani to save Erdogan and Zarrab[45] appears to be two-fold. The first is persuading Mr. Trump and the New York court that Erdogan’s help is vital for the America’s National Security interests. The second is the fact that the Zarrab trial is a simple corruption- and money laundering case and not worth pursuing if the lives of U.S. servicemen are at stake. Team Giuliani will do its best to hide the connections to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and how the money funneled into Iran was used by the IRGC to further terrorism in the world.

Mr. Giuliani is using these arguments to establish bargaining chips in a “murky deal” between President Trump and the man who acts as a de-facto dictator. If Mr. Trump makes a deal with Erdogan to save Zarrab from prison, the Zarrab issue will become an international embarrassment for Erdogan and the President as well.

In fact, in a recent hearing on the Zarrab case, the Judge asked Mr. Giuliani who he was working for, whether it was Zarrab or Erdogan? During the same hearing, the New York District Attorney’s office said that Mr. Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey are “looking to resolve a criminal case through political means," and their actions “run the risk of politicizing the Justice Department[46].”

Erdogan made public statements about his upcoming meetings with Mr. Trump and indicated that he would request from Mr. Trump to release Zarrab and halt the trial[47]. Undoubtedly, Erdogan knows that he must come to the bargaining table with some counter-leverage to force the American’s to accept his demands. Erdogan’s “needs” partly may explain why Turkey abruptly carried out attacks against the U.S. coalition partners on Sinjar mountain and Rojava on April 25. Those attacks reportedly killed 20 Kurdish fighters[48]. Additionally, on May 3 it was reported that “Russia is circulating a draft proposal to Syrian rebel groups and diplomats that envision pausing the war in Syria through the creation of safe “de-escalation and no-fly zones,[49]” with Turkey and Iran again is trying to leave the U.S. and other coalition forces out of the loop.

While these attacks drew harsh criticism from the United States, Erdogan apparently was undeterred. His senior political advisor, Ilnur Cevik, openly claimed during a radio interview on May 3 that the “U.S. commandos in northern Syria could be targeted by Turkish rockets if they continue to work with Kurdish fighters along the border with Turkey[50].” Though targeting the American soldiers might be seen a very bold move, the language Cevik used also indicates how it could happen. The public statement given by Cevik could not have taken place without Erdogan’s prior approvals. Cevik openly stated that a few missiles would be “mistakenly” dropped on American soldiers or armored vehicles. After shooting down the Russian jet, the American policy makers must understand that everything is possible with Erdogan, whose back is against the wall. Finally, in addition to these threats, on May 3, Putin and Erdogan discussed the deliveries of Russia’s advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Turkey at a meeting in Sochi[51]. The installment of Russian S-400 missile systems in Turkey will literally mean the end of Turkish – NATO alliance even if Turkey does not formally leave NATO. Turkey, in fact, has become NATO’s Trojan horse.

Mr. Trump must understand that Erdogan is in no condition to bargain or force the United States toward a direction he wants. Erdogan ruined the centuries-old established friendship between the U.S. and Turkey and allowed the extension of Iranian influence in the Middle East. Basically, with the support of Erdogan, Iran’s influence has reached to the Mediterranean Sea through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon establishing a Shia crescent in the region. Iran now poses a grave threat to Western interests and a grand threat to the oil and gas routes in the region. If Erdogan had not backed Iran during the nuclear crises and had not transferred funds to Iran, the Iranian influence in the region would be far less, and Iran would be economically worse off than it is today.

The case against Zarrab should continue without any political involvement, and the whole world should see the dirty dealings of Erdogan during the trials scheduled to start late August. Erdogan must be referred to the International Criminal Court at The Hague for his war crimes and crimes against humanity. The evidence for these crimes are public and often written in the international press. With the Zarrab case unimpeded, the U.S. will have a stronger stand and leverage against Erdogan.

Let Trump declare that rule of law demands justice in the New York court. The Turks and Americans are friends and allies, yet the would-be Sultan in Ankara has ruined that friendship. As painful as it is for some diplomats to accept, it is also obvious that the so-called alliance with Turkey cannot continue with Erdogan’s current policies and alignments. It is now very common to see anti-American news in Erdogan controlled Turkish media distancing the Turkish public away from this friendship every day.

Mr. Trump must take a strong stand against Erdogan forcing Turkey to make good faith concessions to ensure the alliance of the Turks and Americans will continue. First, the rule of law in Turkey must be upheld. The state of emergency must be halted, as it appears that Erdogan clearly wants to rule the country emergency powers until 2019 elections in order prevent opposition parties to challenge his reelection.

Political prisoners who were never part of the attempted coup must be released immediately, including the professors, teachers, doctors, civil servants and certainly American Pastor Andrew Brunson who was arrested without any reasons. Freedom of the press must be reestablished as Erdogan now almost completely controls the media and pumps out Goebbels-like lies every day to ensure his control over the Turkish public. Turkey must stand and fight seriously against Salafist jihadist terrorism in the region and must not let those terrorists operate freely inside the country. The deal makers at the White House must keep in mind the worst case scenario that is more possible than many realize – the transmogrification of Anatolia into a Sunni version of Iran.

Ahmet S. Yayla is an adjunct professor of criminology, law, and society at George Mason University. He is also senior research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE). He formerly served as a professor and the chair of the sociology department at Harran University in Turkey. He also served as the chief of counterterrorism and operations department of the Turkish National Police in Sanliurfa between 2010 and 2013. He is the co-author of the newly released book ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate. Follow @ahmetsyayla

References

[1] Yayla, A.S., “The Reina Nightclub Attack and the Islamic State Threat to Turkey” CTC Sentinel, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Vol 10, Issue 3, pp. 9-16, March 2017.

[2] Yayla, A.S., “Hacked Emails Link Turkish Minister to Illicit Oil” World Policy Journal.

http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2016/10/17/hacked-emails-link-turkish-minister-illicit-oil, October, 2016.

[3] Yayla, A.S., “Turkey’s Crippled Counterterrorist Capacity: How Domestic Purges Represent an International Threat to Europe’s Security” Modern Diplomacy. http://moderndiplomacy.eu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2306:turkey-s-crippled-counterterrorist-capacity-how-domestic-purges-represent-an-international-threat-to-europe-s-security&Itemid=154, March, 2017.

[4] Adam Klasfeld, “Feds Tie Turkish Tycoon to Ahmadinejad,” Courthouse News Service, April 24, 2017, https://www.courthousenews.com/feds-tie-turkish-tycoon-ahmadinejad/

[5] Editorial, “Erdogan in Tehran : Iran is Second Home,” United States Institute of Peace, January 29, 2014, http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2014/jan/29/erdogan-tehran-iran-second-home

[6] Heather J. Sharkey, “A History of Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East,” Cambridge University Press, New York, 2017.

[7] Erkan Karaarslan, “Selam Tevhid: Cumhuriyet tarihinin en önemli soruşturması,” Turk Solu, March 23, 2015, http://www.turksolu.com.tr/selam-tevhid-cumhuriyet-tarihinin-en-onemli-sorusturmasi/

[8] Delillerle Iranci Beşir Atalay Gerçeği, YouTube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gL4OwuLLcw

[9] Erkan Karaarslan, “Selam Tevhid: Cumhuriyet tarihinin en önemli soruşturması,” Turk Solu, March 23, 2015, http://www.turksolu.com.tr/selam-tevhid-cumhuriyet-tarihinin-en-onemli-sorusturmasi/

[10] Turan Genc, “Turkish National Police Report written to the Chief of Staff about the Hezbollah Operation,” January 15, 2001, Ankara, http://www.habervaktim.com/d/other/belge2-001.jpg & Editorial, “Selam Tevhid Örgütü Nedir?” Haberler, July 28, 2014, http://www.haberler.com/selam-tevhid-orgutu-nedir-6313541-haberi/

[11] Erkan Karaarslan, “Selam Tevhid: Cumhuriyet tarihinin en önemli soruşturması,” Turk Solu, March 23, 2015, http://www.turksolu.com.tr/selam-tevhid-cumhuriyet-tarihinin-en-onemli-sorusturmasi/

[12] Editorial, “Ilıcak: Dinlemeye takılan Hakan Fidan, neden 'Selam Tevhid' şüphelisi Faruk Koca ile irtibattaydı?” T24, August 7, 2014, http://t24.com.tr/haber/ilicak-dinlemeye-takilan-hakan-fidan-neden-selam-tevhid-suphelisi-faruk-koca-ile-irtibattaydi,266890

[13] Erkan Karaarslan, “Selam Tevhid: Cumhuriyet tarihinin en önemli soruşturması,” Turk Solu, March 23, 2015, http://www.turksolu.com.tr/selam-tevhid-cumhuriyet-tarihinin-en-onemli-sorusturmasi/

[14] Editorial, “Selam Tevhid Örgütü Nedir?” Haberler, July 28, 2014, http://www.haberler.com/selam-tevhid-orgutu-nedir-6313541-haberi/

[15] Editorial, “THY'nin Iranli Pilotlari Meclis Gündeminde,” Airport Haber, September 15, 2014, http://www.airporthaber.com/havacilik-haberleri/thynin-iranli-pilotlari-meclis-gundeminde.html

[16] Editorial, “İran’la eğitim anlaşması,” Sozcu, June 24, 2013, http://www.sozcu.com.tr/egitim/iranla-egitim-anlasmasi.html

[17] Editorial, “İran'dan Türkiye'ye 2 bin hemşire geliyor,” Hurriyet, December 29, 2011, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/irandan-turkiyeye-2-bin-hemsire-geliyor-19563935

[18] Neil MacFarquhar, “U.N. Approves New Sanctions to Deter Iran,” the New York Times, June 9, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/world/middleeast/10sanctions.html

[19] “U.S. Sanctions Legislation,” The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), http://www.defenddemocracy.org/us-sanctions-legislation/ & Peter Baker, “Obama Signs Into Law Tighter Sanctions on Iran,” the New York Times, July 1, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/02/world/middleeast/02sanctions.html & Samuel Rubenfeld, “Obama Signs Iran Central Bank Sanctions Into Law,” The Wall Street Journal, Jan 3, 2012, http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2012/01/03/obama-signs-iran-central-bank-sanctions-into-law/

[20] Andrew Torchia, “Iranian banks reconnected to SWIFT network after four-year hiatus,” Routers, Feb 17, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-banks-swift-idUSKCN0VQ1FD

[21] Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, “Turkish National Arrested for Conspiring to Evade U.S. Sanctions Against Iran, Money Laundering and Bank Fraud,” March 21, 2016, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/turkish-national-arrested-conspiring-evade-us-sanctions-against-iran-money-laundering-and & Preet Bharara, the U.S. vs Zarrab indictment, March 21, 2016, https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/834146/download

[22] Yayla, A.S., “Turkey’s July Coup Attempt: “A Gift from God” to a new Authoritarianism.” The United States Congress. http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA14/20160914/105312/HHRG-114-FA14-Wstate-YaylaA-20160914.pdf, September 14, 2016.

[23] Emanuele Ottolenghi, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), January 20, 2014, http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/whos-afraid-of-babak-zanjani/

[24] Mahmut Hamsici, “10 soruda: 17-25 Aralık operasyonları,” BBC Turkce, December 16, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler/2014/12/141212_17_25_aralik_operasyonu_neler_oldu_10_soruda

[25] Editorial, “17 Aralık Büyük Yolsuzluk ve Rüşvet Operasyonu,” Sozcu, December 17, 2014, http://www.sozcu.com.tr/2014/gundem/17-aralik-buyuk-yolsuzluk-ve-rusvet-operasyonu-680664/

[26] Cengiz Candar, “The Erdogan tapes,” Al-Monitor, February 27, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/02/supporters-deny-taped-conversation-erdogan-son.html & “Tayyip Erdoğan ve Bilal Erdoğanın Yolsuzluklarının Kaydı - Telefon Görüşmesi,” YouTube, February 24, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3PrAAbEQOk & “Tayyip Erdoğan & Bilal Erdoğan Telefon Konuşması,” YouTube. February 25, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeytLBm62eo

[27] Yayla, A.S., “Hacked Emails Link Turkish Minister to Illicit Oil” World Policy Journal. http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2016/10/17/hacked-emails-link-turkish-minister-illicit-oil, October, 2016.

[28] Editorial, “Ve Şehrizar Konakları'ndan alınan daireler doğrulandı,” OdaTV, September 13, 2014, http://odatv.com/ve-sehrizar-konaklarindan-alinan-daireler-dogrulandi-1309141200.html

[29] Isobel Finkel & Christian Berthelsen, “U.S. Arrests Top Turkish Banker in Iran Sanctions Probe,” Bloomberg, March 30, 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-28/halkbank-deputy-g-m-arrested-in-u-s-in-iran-financing-probe

[30] Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, “Turkish Banker Arrested For Conspiring To Evade U.S. Sanctions Against Iran And Other Offenses,” March 28, 2017, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/turkish-banker-arrested-conspiring-evade-us-sanctions-against-iran-and-other-offenses

[31] Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, “US v. Mehmet Hakan Atilla complaint,” March 28, 2017, https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/press-release/file/952856/download

[32] Mahmut Hamsici, “10 soruda: 17-25 Aralık operasyonları,” BBC Turkce, December 16, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler/2014/12/141212_17_25_aralik_operasyonu_neler_oldu_10_soruda

[33] Fehim Tastekin, “Is corruption suspect's US arrest bad news for Erdogan?” Al-Monitor, March 23, 2016, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/03/turkey-iran-usa-arrest-of-zarrab-bad-news-for-erdogan.html

[34] Editorial, “Iran’s Supreme Court confirms death sentence of billionaire businessman Babak Zanjani,” CBS News, December 4, 2016, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/irans-supreme-court-death-sentence-billionaire-businessman-babak-zanjani/

[35] Editorial, “Iran billionaire Babak Zanjani sentenced to death,” BBC, March 6, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35739377

[36] Editorial, “Zencani'den idam öncesi itiraf: Türkiye'de 8,5 milyar dolar rüşvet dağıttım,” Cumhuriyet, April 6, 2016, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/511094/Zencani_den_idam_oncesi_itiraf__Turkiye_de_8_5_milyar_dolar_rusvet_dagittim.html

[37] Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, “Turkish National Arrested for Conspiring to Evade U.S. Sanctions Against Iran, Money Laundering and Bank Fraud,” March 21, 2016, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/turkish-national-arrested-conspiring-evade-us-sanctions-against-iran-money-laundering-and

[38] Editorial, “US Attorney’s Office Vows To Prove Cooperation Of High Level Turkish And Iranian Officials With Zarrab To Evade US Sanctions,” Stockholm Center for Freedom, April 24, 2017, http://stockholmcf.org/us-attorneys-office-vows-to-prove-cooperation-of-high-level-turkish-and-iranian-officials-with-zarrab-to-evade-us-sanctions/

[39] Larry Neumeister, “US: Turkish man charged with serious national security crime,” Daily Journal, April 24, 2017, http://www.dailyjournal.net/2017/04/24/us-sanctions-iran-arrest-7/

[40] Editorial, “White House weighs designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group,” Reuters, February 7, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-irgc-idUSKBN15N0AI

[41] Shabnam von Hein, “Erdogan's 'Goldfinger' on trial in US,” DW, September 30, 2016, http://www.dw.com/en/erdogans-goldfinger-on-trial-in-us/a-35932473

[42] Dexter Filkins, “A Mysterious Case Involving Turkey, Iran, And Rudy Giuliani,” The New Yorker, April 14, 2017, http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-mysterious-case-involving-turkey-iran-and-rudy-giuliani

[43] Zeynep Gürcanli, “Ve “Erdoğan” ismi Zarrab dosyasında!,” Sozcu, May 25, 2016, http://www.sozcu.com.tr/2016/gundem/o-isimler-zarrab-dosyasinda-2-1246507/

[44] Nathan Layne, “Giuliani says U.S. open to deal on Turkish gold trader case,” Townhall, April 20, 2017, https://townhall.com/news/us/2017/04/20/giuliani-says-us-open-to-deal-on-turkish-gold-trader-case-n2315863

[45] Michael Rubin, “The Iran Nuclear Deal: Worse Than We Imagined,” Commentary Magazine, April 25, 2017, https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/middle-east/iran/iran-nuclear-deal-worse-than-we-knew/

[46] Patricia Hurtado, Greg Farrell, Christian Berthelsen, “Giuliani’s Talk With Erdogan Adds Mystery to U.S. Sanctions Case,” Bloomberg, April 24, 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-24/giuliani-talk-with-erdogan-adds-mystery-to-u-s-sanctions-case

[47] Editorial, “Zarrab babamın oğlu değil,” Sabah, April 26, 2017, http://www.sabah.com.tr/ekonomi/2017/04/26/zarrab-babamin-oglu-degil

[48] Michael R. Gordon & Kamil Kakol, “Turkish Strikes Target Kurdish Allies of U.S. in Iraq and Syria,” the New York Times, April 25, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/world/middleeast/turkey-kurds-airstrikes-iraq-syria.html

[49] Anne Barnard & Hwaida Saad, “To Freeze Syria War, Russia Proposes Setting Up ‘De-escalation Zones’,” the New York Times, May 3, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/world/middleeast/russia-syria-de-escalation-zones-astana.html

[50] Paul McLeary, “Turkey Threatens U.S. Forces in Syria, as Putin Presses for Safe Zones,” Foreign Policy, May 3, 2017, https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/05/03/turkey-threatens-u-s-forces-in-syria-as-putin-presses-for-safe-zones/amp/

[51] Editorial, “Putin and Erdogan discuss S-400 missile system deliveries to Turkey,” TASS, May 3, 2017, http://tass.com/politics/944456

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