Turkey: Court jails US consulate staffer for terror charges
Nazmi Mete Canturk convicted on charges of aiding an organization that Ankara accuses of attempting a coup
An Istanbul court on Tuesday sentenced a US consular officer to jail on charges of aiding an organization that Ankara accuses of the 2016 coup d’etat attempt. This verdict could further aggravate relations between Turkey and the United States.
Nazmi Mete Canturk, who works in the security service of the consulate in Istanbul, was sentenced to imprisonment for five years and two months. The court did not rule on the arrest of Dzhantyurk, which means that he will remain at large while the appeal is being considered.
The trials of US citizens and US consular officials in Turkey were among the many sources of disagreement between NATO allies, along with Syria policy and Ankara’s decision to purchase a Russian missile defense system..
Concerns over relations between the two countries have intensified in recent weeks when Turkey tested the S-400 missile system, sparking outrage in Washington..
Canturk, speaking in court on Tuesday, said he was not a follower of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for the failed 2016 coup, and said his work requires coordination with local security officials..
“By order of the management, I met with various people as part of my job.. These people are government officials appointed by the government, ”he said. “I cannot know if they were involved in any crimes.”.
His wife Sevim and daughter Irem, also accused of membership in a terrorist organization, were acquitted.
According to the Turkish authorities, Gulen’s followers infiltrated the ranks of the police, judiciary, military and other institutions. Turkey considers the organization to be a terrorist group. Gülen denies involvement in coup attempt.
Dzhanturk became the third US consular officer to be convicted. Hamza Uluchay was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison on terrorism charges. Metin Topuz, translator for the US Drug Enforcement Administration at the Istanbul Consulate, was sentenced to nearly nine years in prison for aiding the Gulen network.
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