The destiny of 300 Turkish people hangs on Brazil’s Supreme Court

Tomorrow, Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court will analyze Turkey’s request for the extradition of Ali Sipahi, a Turkish-Brazilian restaurant owner accused by his home country of involvement in conspiracy and terrorism due to his links with the Gülen movement—also known as Hizmet—inspired by exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen. Mr. Sipahi was arrested on April 5 after a request from the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He was later released on May 7—but has been forced to wear an ankle monitor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fethullah Gülen is regarded by President Erdoğan as an enemy of the state, and Hizmet is classified as a terrorist organization. But the evidence against Mr. Sipahi himself is thin: a transfer of approximately BRL 1,100 to the now-defunct Asya bank in 2014. Even so, Brazil&#8217;s reciprocity treaty with Turkey means his arrest was a must for local authorities after a request from the Turkish government. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazilian law establishes that a naturalized citizen can be extradited if accused of a crime preceding his naturalization. The Supreme Court won&#8217;t analyze whether or not Mr. Sipahi committed a crime—only whether he should answer the accusations in Turkey. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The case could affect the roughly 300 Turkish-born citizens living in Brazil and connected to Hizmet. Some of them, such as Mustafa Goktepe—founder and president of the </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazil-Turkey Cultural Center</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">—have decided to leave the country until the issue is settled.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Go deeper:</b> <a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazil involves itself in Turkey conflict with extradition request</span></a></li> </ul> <hr /> <h2>New leaks show more links between Moro and prosecutors</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Newspaper </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Folha de São Paulo</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> teamed up with </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Intercept Brazil</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to analyze the leaked conversations between former Operation Car Wash judge Sergio Moro (currently the Minister of Justice) and federal prosecutors. The latest batch of leaks shows the prosecutors&#8217; support for Mr. Moro, with them trying to negotiate behind the scenes to avoid the judge taking heat for mistakes made during the investigation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The material also indicates that Mr. Moro and the prosecutors could have manipulated the investigation to control the information that would reach the Supreme Court—which is the exclusive jurisdiction for federal elected officials.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">More than anything in the leaks, though, the report helps attest to the authenticity of the material. </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Folha </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">reporters compared their own history of conversations with members of the operation with the messages obtained by </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Intercept</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and said they match. Since last week, Mr. Moro and Car Wash prosecutors have tried to discredit the material, saying it could have been doctored by a hacker.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the wake of these new revelations, Mr. Moro decided to cancel a hearing at a House of Representatives committee to discuss the case—which was scheduled for Wednesday.</span></p> <h4>The hacker</h4> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A gang offering &#8220;cyber intelligence services,&#8221; and made up of federal marshals, road patrollers, and businessmen was targeted by a police operation last week in Santa Catarina. Among the seized evidence are multiple screenshots of a computer belonging to one of the first Car Wash investigators. The Federal Police analyzes if this gang has any relation with the hacking of multiple judges and prosecutors connected to the probe—which is believed to be the source of the leaks.</span></p> <p><script src="" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <hr /> <h2>Congress examines loans to Venezuela, Cuba, and Mozambique</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The House investigation committee launched to scrutinize contracts signed by the National Development Bank (BNDES) abroad has gathered information over the past 3 months indicating several irregularities in projects in Venezuela, Cuba, and Mozambique. Documents obtained by newspaper </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Estado de S.Paulo</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> show the bank&#8217;s lack of risk assessment in credit operations, as well as a lack of oversight in monitoring how the money was being spent.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is the third hearings committee in the last 4 years to investigate illegal deals by the BNDES. The previous ones failed to reach a conclusion—as lawmakers complained of a lack of access to the bank&#8217;s sealed documents. Members of the committee believe the BNDES was careless in the loan operations due to the fact that the Department of Treasury acted as guarantor—meaning the bank would not lose money regardless of the outcome.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Loans to Venezuela, Cuba, and Mozambique total BRL 2.3bn in defaulted BNDES debts. </span></p> <ul> <li><b>Go deeper: </b><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">The exit of BNDES&#8217; last president, explained</span></a></li> </ul> <hr /> <h2>Also noteworthy</h2> <p><b>LGBTQ. </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">São Paulo hosted its 23rd annual Pride Parade yesterday. The mayor&#8217;s office expected around 3m people at the event—but no official estimate was published during or after the celebration. Politicians spoke from sound trucks, reinforcing the political aspect of the parade. A former senator said that the first Pride Parade during Jair Bolsonaro&#8217;s term was &#8220;the most important in history.&#8221;</span></p> <p><b>Re-election.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> During an improvised speech in the countryside of São Paulo state, President Jair Bolsonaro signaled that he wants to fight for a second term in 2022—despite having pledged not to run for re-election. Soon after, parties in Congress began negotiating a vote on a bill that ends the possibility of re-election for the Executive branch at all levels (federal, state, and municipal).</span></p> <p><b>FAO. </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">China&#8217;s Deputy Minister of Agriculture Qu Dongyu was elected the new head of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Sunday—with effusive support from Brazil. He replaces </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">José Graziano</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a former member of the Lula administration, who led the FAO for 7 years.</span></p> <p><b>Oil and gas.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The downing of a U.S. surveillance drone on Thursday by Iran&#8217;s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps elevated tensions in the Middle East—which gave volatility to oil prices. As a consequence, Petrobras&#8217; ADR stock at the New York Stock Exchange rose 4.2% on Thursday and Friday. We will see the effects on the company&#8217;s papers listed in São Paulo today.</span></p> <p><b>Agribusiness.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Almost 500 grain producers located in 13 states are suspected of running a tax evasion scheme. They allegedly used shell companies to dodge taxes, incurring losses to the tax authorities of roughly BRL 1.5bn. The producers have 15 days to pay their taxes, or else they will face criminal investigation.

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BY Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.