The U.S. prison sentence given to the former deputy CEO of a Turkish state bank came despite his absence of guilt, and with the use of forged evidence and false statements, said Turkey on Wednesday.
The 32-month sentence for Halkbank’s Mehmet Hakan Atilla by the District Court for the Southern District of New York was “inconsistent with the principle of a fair trial,” said Turkey’s Foreign Ministry in a statement.
“By convicting a foreign government official, this court made an unprecedented decision regarding the implementation of U.S. sanctions legislation” regarding Iran, it said.
It went onto say that the court relied on “forged evidence and false statements” of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) members — the group behind the 2016 failed coup in Turkey — which it said “eradicated the legitimacy of the trial”.
“The credibility of the legal proceedings has vanished completely,” it added.
On Wednesday, Atilla, convicted of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman to 32 months in prison.
Under the sentencing, Atilla’s total incarceration is 32 months, with 14 months’ time served subtracted from that total.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.