Turkey did not violate U.S. sanctions against Iran and "did the right thing" regardless of the outcome of the ongoing case in the United States, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
"We have trade and energy ties with Iran. We did not breach the sanctions [on Iran]. Whatever the verdict is, we did the right thing. We have never made commitments to the U.S. [on our energy ties with Iran],” Erdoğan reportedly told lawmakers from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at a closed-door party meeting.
"The world is not only about the U.S. We also have trade and energy relations with Iran," Erdoğan added.
On Wednesday, Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab described in a U.S. court how he ran a sprawling international money laundering scheme aimed at helping Iran get around U.S. sanctions and spend its oil and gas revenues abroad, in a case that has further strained ties between Ankara and Washington. Reza Zarrab told the court on Wednesday that he had bribed then economy minister Zafer Çağlayan in order to facilitate illegal gold transactions with sanctions-hit Iran.
Earlier, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said Zarrab was making defamatory claims because he was under pressure.