Fetullah Terrorist Organisation fugitive Osman Zeki Canitez to appear as witness in case against Turkish banker Atilla
The presumptive witnesses named in the U.S. court case against former deputy general manager of Turkey’s Halkbank strengthen claims the evidence came from Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO)-linked names and that there is a political agenda behind it.
Mehmet Hakan Atilla is in jail in New York; Turkish businessman Riza Sarraf is expected to appear before the court in the case as a witness.
Prosecutor defends FETO officers
The attorney general's defense based on voice records is full of FETO rhetoric and denial of revealing the source of the records presented as evidence to the court during the trial’s first day has been noticed.
Assistant attorney David Denton defended FETO police officers who made the voice records, saying they did "their duty" and added that one of the officers would also give testimony as a witness in the court.
FETO fugitive Canitez among witnesses
Osman Zeki Canitez, a former bank certified auditor for whom an arrest warrant is out in Turkey in connection with his links to FETO as part of Istanbul Public Prosecutor Office's probe into the December 2013 judicial coup bid, is now one of the witnesses in the Atilla case.
Canitez has also been identified as a ByLock app user, which has been allegedly used by FETO members during last year’s deadly defeated coup.
He is also accused of bringing Atilla case "documents and evidence illegally from Turkey".
He will now stand as a witness in the case based on these documents and it is expected he would appear before the court during the trial.
Ex-CHP MP in list
Meanwhile, former Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker Aykan Erdemir is also on the witness list in the Atilla case.
An arrest warrant is also out for Erdemir in Turkey.
Erdemir has rejected Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Office's claims about him in a written statement and said the charges against him are incorrect.
Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office accuses Erdemir of "conducting acts that link the Turkish Republic with terror over fake evidence". He is also accused of working as an expert in the U.S. for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) which is known for its anti-Turkey and pro-Israel stance named.
He was previously also named among FETO members.
Washington-centred FDD's CEO Marc Dubowitz and senior vice-president Jonathan Schanzer are also expected to be heard as experts on Iran sanctions in the Atilla case.
Cooperation with FETO institutions
Erdemir is also accused of playing an important role in the meeting between a CHP delegation and administrators of some of FETO's most important organizations in the U.S. – the Rumi Forum and Turkic American Alliance -- during the CHP delegation's U.S. visit in 2013.
He also participated as a speaker to a roundtable meeting of the Rumi Forum.
Erdemir's "fierce criticism against Turkish foreign policy" during a panel in Georgetown University in March last year, where FETO fugitive Emre Uslu was also present, also drew strong negative reaction.
Jury members snooze
When FDD CEO Dubowitz appeared before the court as an expert on the first day of the trial, some jury members dozed off.
Dubowitz gave comments about "how Iran directed energy policies inside the country from 1979 onwards" and "sanctions of the U.S. against Iran".
His remarks also extensively criticized Iranian presidential elections.
FDD Vice President Schanzer is also expected to appear in the court as an expert.
UAE ties cause dispute
In June, “hacked” emails of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to Washington Yousef al- Utaybah revealed that the gulf state and the FDD had very close ties.
The emails clearly mentioned the names of Utaybah, Dubowitz and Schanzer.
Utaybah was said to enjoy close relationship with pro-Israeli FDD and "they were trying to develop common policies against Turkey and Qatar".
Defense objects to evidence
One of Atilla's attorneys, Cathy Fleming, said in a certified petition submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in October that documents, information and records submitted by the U.S. authorities were "stolen and fake".
"The voice records do not satisfy the standards of acceptability in the U.S., do not comply to minimum standards under the deficiency principle, also there is important evidence showing that the voice records are not trustworthy and this makes the acceptance of voice records as evidence impossible," Fleming had said.
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.