A FEDERAL court in New York is not the obvious setting for a trial that has sent panic through the Turkish establishment. But since he began testifying on November 29th, Reza Zarrab, a 34-year-old gold trader, has pled guilty to violating American sanctions against Iran; implicated Halkbank, a Turkish bank, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, in his scheme; and confessed to bribing a former economy minister who, alongside an executive from Halkbank and six others, is a suspect in the case. In Turkey, a prosecutor has placed one current and one former US attorney under investigation, and Mr Erdogan has accused an Islamic sect of using America’s judiciary to stage a coup against his regime.
The charges against the gold trader, who was arrested during a trip to Florida in 2016, and the substance of his own allegations will sound familiar to most Turks. In 2013 police in Turkey arrested dozens of people, including Mr Zarrab, the sons of three cabinet ministers,...Continue reading