Defense from Halkbank: Guilty verdict will directly harm Turkish sovereign

Accused of violating sanctions on Iran in the United States, Halkbank  defense attorneys claimed in their 71-page defense petition to the Second District Court of Appeals in New York that both the  commercial  lender and the state of Turkey would suffer if the case was concluded against them.


The US Constitutional Court, which took the Halkbank case on its agenda, sent the decision to the New York Second District Court of Appeals for reconsideration on April 19.


‘Cannot be prosecuted in the USA’

According to the news in VOA Turkish; Halkbank helped Iran to secretly transfer $20 billion from banned funds. The lawsuit  claimed that at least 1 billion dollars of this money was laundered in the US financial system.  A deposition signed by Halkbank’s attorney Robert M. Carry, stated that  regarding the appeal request that 91 percent of the bank belongs to the Republic of Turkey Wealth Fund, and the bank falls under the ‘Foreign State Immunity Act’ (FSIA) and therefore cannot be prosecuted in the US.

‘No adverse verdict’ defense

Halkbank claimed that both the bank and Turkey would suffer if the case was concluded against them. Halkbank argued that no court had previously ruled unfavorably on sovereign immunity in a criminal case.


The petition, which includes the history of the Foreign State Immunity Law and the previous decisions taken by the courts within the framework of this law, and the jurisprudence of the high judiciary, included evaluations of the appeals court’s decision in the Halkbank case.


The question ‘Who knows what a creative prosecutor might come up with?’


In the defense petition, it was stated that if a decision is made against Halkbank, the consensus provided by the law on this issue will be destroyed and it will be impossible to control the results.

The petition states, “If whether in federal or state courts, state or local prosecutors are given this unlimited power to sue a nation, they will be able to file charges  in their jurisdiction on matters of world issues, from refugees crossing the border to climate change, and file criminal charges against a country. It offers many opportunities for creative prosecutors to disrupt the diplomatic relations between  US and other nations.

‘It will directly harm Turkey’

Stating that the actions regarding the accusations in the indictment prepared by the USA against them took place in Turkey, within the borders of Turkish sovereignty, Halkbank said, “If this case is ultimately successful, it will weaken Halkbank’s ability to operate and will also directly harm Turkey.” .



The lower court has yet to set a date for a new trial for Halkbank. Previously, law experts argued that if Halkbank is declared guilty, the Treasury of Turkey can be penalized up to $10 bn, though this figure was disputed by the management, which estimated a penalty less than $1 bn.  The ongoing Halkbank case is a major obstacle to better relations between two nations.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.