Turkey: US Consulate employee who did DEA work has trial set

ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish employee of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul is space to head on trial in March on costs of espionage and attempting to overthrow the Turkish authorities, a court docket decided Friday.

A court docket ruled to preserve Metin Topuz, a translator and fixer for the Drug Enforcement Agency, in pretrial detention unless trial hearings scheduled for March 26-28, relate-hasten Anadolu data company reported. Topuz has been in custody since October 2017.

The court docket licensed a 78-web page indictment alleging Topuz had “very intense contacts” with police officers who led a 2013 corruption investigation interesting prime authorities officers and their families. The indictment called him a “terror felony.”

The Turkish authorities alleged the investigation was a “judicial coup” strive orchestrated by a Turkish cleric who lives within the US and leads a community that Turkey has labeled as a terror crew. The authorities also blames the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, for a failed 2016 militia coup, but he denies involvement.

Topuz told authorities he had been in contact with the officers for narcotics investigations as half of his job.

The indictment said the proposed penal complex sentence for attempting to overthrow the authorities was lifestyles imprisonment and for espionage, 15 to Twenty years. Topuz shall be charged with privacy violations and illegally recording private data.

Topuz’s attorney, Halit Akalp, told The Associated Press his client rejects the accusations and said, “He has no links to the alleged crimes.”

His arrest elevated tensions between Turkey and the U.S. in 2017. The two NATO allies suspended bilateral visa providers and products for bigger than two months.

Family worsened dramatically closing 300 and sixty five days when U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Twitter elevated tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, inflicting a nosedive of the Turkish lira, to stress the country into releasing an American pastor.

Pastor Andrew Brunson, who lived in Turkey for two decades, was convicted in October for terror links but was allowed to head away the country after spending nearly two years in detention.

On Thursday, a senior U.S. official said the diplomatic mission’s “single major precedence is unquestionably securing the liberty of our unjustly detained workers and the American residents.”

Hamza Ulucay, a translator for the U.S. Consulate in Adana, was convicted of assisting terror groups this week and sentenced to 4½ years in penal complex. He was launched for time served following nearly two years in pretrial detention but is barred from leaving the country.

One more employee, Mete Canturk, is underneath condo arrest and Serkan Golge, a Turkish-American NASA engineer, is in penal complex.

The senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “We detached like no longer considered evidence that would possibly maybe well strengthen costs against Hamza or Metin or Mete.”

The arrests like been half of a neatly-liked crackdown following the coup strive. Extra than 77,000 other individuals like been arrested and a few 130,000 public workers sacked via emergency decrees. Critics verbalize the purge went past the suspects of the coup with the arrests of journalists, lawmakers and activists.

Amongst the 30 complainants on the indictment against Topuz are Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and ancient ministers.

Read More