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Turkiye frees US Consulate employee

November 28, 2023 at 3:34 pm

An armored Turkish police vehicle stands outside the courthouse in Istanbul on March 28, 2019, during the trial of Metin Topuz, an US consulate staffer accused of spying and attempting to overthrow the government [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]

A Turkish former employee of the US Consulate in Istanbul was recently released from prison, three years after he was convicted of aiding a terrorist organisation in a case that strained bilateral ties, Reuters reports.

According to the report, a Turkish court sentenced the employee, Metin Topuz, to eight years and nine months in jail in June 2020.

It was one of a series of developments that put the NATO allies at odds in recent years, the report added.

Topuz’s lawyers were not immediately available to comment on the report, which Bloomberg attributed to people with knowledge of the matter. The Foreign Ministry was also not immediately available.

“We are aware of reports about Metin Topuz. Out of respect for the Topuz family’s wishes, we have nothing further to offer,” a spokesman for the US Consulate in Istanbul said.

Topuz, a Drug Enforcement Agency liaison officer at the Istanbul Consulate, was accused of links to officials found to be members of the network of US-based Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who Turkiye blames for a failed 2016 military coup.

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