Commentary, Politics

Mr. Bharara not Accepting Gifts Just for Doing His Job

2 min read

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara became an instant celebrity in Turkey upon the arrest of Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab in Miami, Florida.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara became an instant celebrity in Turkey upon the arrest of Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab in Miami, Florida. In recent weeks, Turkish Twitter users have been showering him with messages. Although Bharara tried to respond to everyone at first, he soon grew tired of the attention.

Earlier this month Bharara delivered an address at the New York Press Association to point out that Zarrab was arrested on charges that he and others had evaded U.S. financial sanctions on the Iranian government. He added that the U.S. authorities had arrested an individual who happened to be quite well-known in Turkey, but warned that his previous arrest in Turkey was unrelated to his investigation.

For some reason, the Turkish media described Bharara’s well-crafted speech as a lesson in press freedoms. Certain people claimed that Bharara will usher in a new era in Turkish history.

For some reason, the Turkish media described Bharara’s well-crafted speech as a lesson in press freedoms. Certain people claimed that Bharara will usher in a new era in Turkish history. Others argued that the U.S. attorney had taught a valuable lesson to Turkey’s pro-government press. Yet another talking head made the case that the Turkish people should be embarrassed by Bharara’s speech, which, to be clear, hardly touched on the issue of press freedoms.

The same reporters in Turkey had been claiming that the United States had launched an investigation into corruption in Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would not be able to leave the country, they claimed.

To be clear, anyone who rejoiced at Zarrab’s arrest and considered legal action against him as an attack on the Turkish government desperately wanted to ignore Bharara’s main point that the U.S. authorities are investigating violations of financial sanctions on Iran. Their claims that the U.S. government is after Turkey’s leaders simply does not fit into Bharara’s investigation.

At this point, it should be clear, if it was not before, that Zarrab’s arrest in Miami is about U.S.-Iranian relations as opposed to Washington’s partnership with Ankara.

At this point, it should be clear, if it was not before, that Zarrab’s arrest in Miami is about U.S.-Iranian relations as opposed to Washington’s partnership with Ankara. At a time when everything, and nothing, is about press freedoms, Bharara’s speech made it clear that the U.S. authorities are simply trying to put an alleged violator of financial sanctions behind bars.

However hard certain people in Turkey try, Bharara’s case has no ties with Turkey. Unwilling to face the music, some Turkish citizens are apparently trying to feed Bharara some rakı and kebab. Here is what he told them: “I do love shish kebab, but I don’t think I can accept gifts just for doing my job.”

Source: dailysabah.com

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Fahrettin Altun is a faculty member at Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul, Turkey. He earned his BA in Sociology from Istanbul University in 1998 and two years later he received his MA in Sociology from Mimar Sinan University. In 2006 Altun earned his PhD from Istanbul University and his thesis was entitled “Comparative Analysis of Media Theories of McLu-han and Baudrillard.” He was a visiting professor at University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Altun has written articles for Middle East Critique, Perceptions, Toplum ve Bilim, Türkiye Araştırmaları Literatür Dergisi, Euro Agenda, Sivil Toplum, Divan, Toplumbilim and contributed with chapters to The Turkish AK Party and Its Leader: Criticism, Opposition and Dissent, Modern Türkiye’de Siyasal Düşünce (Vol. 6 İslamcılık), Sivil Toplum: Farklı Bakışlar, Küresel Güçler. He is the author of the books Modernleşme Kuramı: Eleştirel Bir Giriş (Küre, 2011 (3rd edition), Türkiye’de Basın Özgürlügˆü (SETA Yayınları, 2016) and The Triumph of Turkish Democracy: The July 15 Coup Attempt And Its Aftermath (SETA Yayınları, 2016). Fahrettin Altun was a columnist for Akşam newspapers and currently he writes for Sabah and Daily Sabah newspapers. Moreover, he was editor-in-chief of Anlayış, and presently serves as the editor-in-chief of Kriter journal which covers political, economic and social topics and is monthly published. Altun also hosted Ayrıntı, a live television program aired in TRT 2 and TRT Haber for two years and currently he is part of two television programs: “Enine Boyuna” and “Dışa Bakış” aired in TRT 1 and TRT Haber respectively. Moreover, Altun is the General Coordinator of SETA Istanbul. Altun’s research focus covers sociology of media and communication, political communication, social media, Turkish modernization and political culture.