Alwaght- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized US claims that Turkey evaded sanctions against Iran, saying that the Washington is trying to discredit Ankara for “not submitting to its scenarios”.
“They [U.S.] are trying to punish, judge and discredit us because we did not submit to their scenarios. The scenario and the plot are obvious and they are doing this with their co-operators in our country," Turkish president said on Saturday at the provincial congress of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the eastern province of Agrı.
Erdogan went on to explain that Americans have tried to destabilize Turkey by the means of ISIS terrorists, organization of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based opposition leader whom Ankara accuses of plotting last year's failed coup, as well as Kurdistan Workers' Party that is blacklisted as terrorist by Turkey and the US.
"They (Americans) are doing it with FETÖ [abbreviation of Fethullahist Terrorist Organization]. You will not be able to deceive us, you should know that,” Erdoğan said.
“They aggravated the PKK for that. They put FETÖ to the front and sent Deash [ISIS] to our country and even now they are using the person who is the head of the main opposition, also known as the main ‘treason party,’ for the same purpose,” he added, referring to the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu who has recently alleged that the president and his relatives had off-shore accounts.
Already strained ties between NATO allies Ankara and Washington have deteriorated in recent weeks as Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab detailed in court a scheme to evade US sanctions.
Zarrab, recently charged in the US for violating US sanctions against Iran, has accused a number of Turkish officials, including Erdogan of alleged participation in the scheme for evasion of these sanctions.
Ankara has cast the testimony as an attempt to undermine Turkey and its economy, and has previously said it was a "clear plot" by the network of US-based Fethullah Gulen, who it says engineered last year's coup attempt.
Turkey has repeatedly requested Gulen's extradition, but US officials have said the courts require sufficient evidence before they can extradite the elderly cleric, who has denied any involvement in the coup.
In similar remarks Erdogan, who has governed Turkey for almost 15 years, told members of his ruling AK Party on Saturday that US courts "can never try my country".
Although he has not yet responded to the courtroom claims, he has dismissed the case as a politically motivated attempt to bring down the Turkish government. On Friday media reports indicated that Turkish prosecutors are set to seize the assets of Zarrab and his acquaintances.
Turkey has stepped up its pressure on the US and on Saturday Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying that Gulen's followers had infiltrated the U.S. judiciary, Congress, and other state institutions.