Turkey jails US consul staffer for aiding ‘terror group’

ISTANBUL (AFP) – A local United States (US) consulate employee was sentenced to nearly nine years in prison in Turkey yesterday for “aiding an armed terror group” that Ankara blames for a failed 2016 coup.

Metin Topuz, who worked as a liaison officer for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Istanbul, was arrested in 2017 and was jailed for eight years and nine months, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

He was accused of making contact with police and a prosecutor suspected of ties to US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara said masterminded the attempted coup in 2016. Gulen rejects the accusations.

In court, Topuz – a Turkish citizen – denied all the allegations, the private DHA news agency reported.

In previous hearings, Topuz told the judge that all his contacts with senior police officials or prosecutors were entirely “part of my work as a translator and assistant liaison officer at the DEA”.