During a State Department press briefing on Tuesday, Nauert was asked about Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab. Zarrab was arrested in the US back in 2016 and was later charged with money laundering and evading US sanctions on Iran. His trial will start in late November. The Turkish government says that the case against the businessman is a “clear plot against Turkey.”
The journalists then asked “at what point” the “war of words” between Ankara and Washington would prompt the US to reassess relations with Turkey.
“Well, as we’ve seen this year, there are some countries where we have – our relationship with these countries can ebb and flow sometimes,” Nauert said. “You have – like a marriage. You have a good day and sometimes you have a bad day, right?” she explained, prompting laughter among the journalists at the briefing.
The State Department spokeswoman insisted that Ankara is “a valued ally of the US.” “We have had a strong relationship with Turkey. But really, just making comments about the United States trying to foment a coup is just – is simply ridiculous,” she added.
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Washington, comparing the case against Zarrab to the 2013 plot against government ministers and top businessmen.
Ankara claims that the 2013 plot was carried out by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – led by Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, who has been living in the US since 1999. Turkey says Gulen attempted to create a “parallel state” in Turkey in the form of a network of supporters among Turkish officials. Turkey has repeatedly requested that the US extradite the preacher back to Turkey. The US has so far ignored the calls.
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