Iranian Drug Lord’s Release From Prison Ensnares Erdogan Aide

(Bloomberg) — Prosecutors in Istanbul began investigating a member of the board which advises President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on legal issues after the aide was accused of attempting to free from custody a convicted Iranian drug trafficker.

The allegations against Burhan Kuzu emerged from testimony in the case of Naji Sharifi Zindashti, first arrested in 2007 in possession of 75 kilograms of heroin and later convicted.

Zindashti was held again in April 2018 on suspicion of murder, instigating murder and membership of the outlawed Gulenist organization. He was released six months later.

Haberturk newspaper reported earlier this week that Kuzu called prosecutors and judges and told them that Zindashti’s release would be “more beneficial” for Turkish-Iranian relations.

A prosecutor from the Special Investigation Bureau has been tasked with probing Kuzu, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Friday.

Kuzu denied the allegations against him in tweets earlier this week. “As a professor of constitutional law, I have always defended judicial independence,” he said. “I have not pressured our judicial members.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Cagan Koc in Istanbul at ckoc2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at oant@bloomberg.net, Mark Williams, Taylan Bilgic

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