I’m too old to wear Amer­i­can run­ning shoes, so I don’t have the right shoe­box in my clos­et in Turkey.

Why am I bring­ing up the top­ic of shoeboxes?

It’s an old sto­ry but the tri­al begin­ning in the U.S. should refresh your memory.

End of 2013. A cer­tain Zarrab, among oth­ers, is arrest­ed and detained as part of an inves­ti­ga­tion in gen­er­al­ized cor­rup­tion. In his case, there’s ques­tion of gold traf­fick­ing with Iran, at a time when the inter­na­tion­al embar­go applies to every­one across the world. This nugget traf­fic would have been facil­i­tat­ed by min­is­ters and entourage of our good president.

Turquie turkey

In Decem­ber 2013, mil­lions of dol­lars hid­den in shoe­box­es turn up in the homes of min­is­ters and of their entourage.

This was the peri­od of the last inves­ti­ga­tions led by judges who were quick­ly fired and replaced, purged, and who are still con­sid­ered as linked to Fetul­lah Gülen, who was busy set­tling accounts from afar with Erdoğan, over shares in polit­i­cal and finan­cial rivalries.

This is the point at which  shoe­box­es turned up here and there in the homes of  friends and rel­a­tives of the pow­er­ful. Devoid of shoes but full of mon­ey. It was a close shave for the pres­i­dent, since record­ings   cir­cu­lat­ed even, fea­tur­ing son­ny and papa Erdoğan dis­cussing mon­ey in need of relo­ca­tion. In short, we would have had a good laugh, had this not opened the war between Gülen and Erdoğan, up to and includ­ing the abort­ed parade of tanks and war­planes in July 2016 (Eng­lish trans­la­tion to fol­low).

Since then, the faucet of purges has been turned wide open and the dove of peace, gunned down. Our Kur­dish friends have found them­selves on the front­lines of the shootings.

Now here comes Zarrab, before an Amer­i­can court this time, under arrest over there since 2016. At age thir­ty-four, he had become the num­ber one gold mer­chant — if not the most rec­om­mend­able per­son. And appar­ent­ly, he has all kinds of things to tell, so much so that we now have an end­less stream of dec­la­ra­tions from our min­is­ters in Turkey.

Accord­ing to them, the Amer­i­can pros­e­cu­tor is also paid by Gülen, to sul­ly Turkey’s reputation.

Said pros­e­cu­tor replied (they twitte a lot in the States): “Turkey FM (for­eign affairs min­is­ter) is a liar. Now let’s see what hap­pens in court.” 

For his part, Erdoğan clam­ored what fol­lows last Tues­day in front of a gath­er­ing of AKP enrap­tured ones: “As their trap failed thanks to our peo­ple’s fore­sight and since we have remained stand­ing, they car­ried off their plot to Amer­i­ca and took it up over there”. 

So many gen­tle words exchanged as win­ter sets in. Should warm the climate.

In a word, you’ll find all this in your favorite news­pa­pers as I did. My pref­er­ence would go to the arti­cle by Nico­las Chev­i­ron and Math­ieu Mag­naudex in the French Médi­a­part. I’m told they are more up to speed than I, and much more seri­ous. Real jour­nal­ist, in oth­er words! And some­thing tells me there isn’t only this busi­ness of the con­tents in shoe­box­es involved in the story.

Splat­ter­ing Erdoğan as he steps out of the Turk­ish bath, when he thought he was in the dry again, will cer­tain­ly lead to talk­ing also about the huge Ira­ki and Syr­i­an pad­dle pool, and of how to trim back Erdoğan’s pre­ten­sions there.

I know some over here who real­ly like elec­tions and who will rub their hands over this.

So if Mis­ter Zarrab opens his trap wide, shoe pol­ish won’t be enough to set­tle things.

Bad for busi­ness, all that.

The Turk­ish lira is going to turn into a yo-yo again.

READ ALSO: Reza Zarrab Behind American Bars

Français : Turquie • Une pépite irani­enne dans la chaus­sure d’Er­doğan Cliquez pour lire

Trans­la­tion by Renée Lucie Bourges

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