Turkish court rules to keep US consulate worker in jail
Metin Topuz, a Turkish employee in the U.S.’s Istanbul consulate, who has faced charges of espionage and attempting to overthrow Turkey’s government, will remain in custody during his trial, according to ruling by a Turkish court on March 28.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) translator has been accused of links to members of FETÖ, which is widely believed to have orchestrated a failed military coup in July 2016.
The 14th Heavy Criminal Court in Istanbul ordered that Topuz should remain in custody until the next hearing on May 15.
During the hearing on March 28, Topuz’s attorney Selman Alibaş denied all the allegations and demanded his client to be released from prison. He was arrested on Oct. 4, 2017.
Topuz also pleaded non-guilty during the hearing on March 26, saying: “I absolutely did not commit the crimes thrown upon me. I did not betray my people and nation through espionage. I am not a vile person.”
He said it was not him to decide who to get into contact with through his work at the consulate and he had no ties to the 2013 corruption investigation that implicated senior government officials.
If convicted, Topuz will face life sentence.
U.S. Charge d’Affaires Jeffrey Hovenier and Consul-General Jennifer Davis were observing the trial on March 26.
In January, a Turkish court freed another employee of the U.S. consulate in the southern province of Adana due to time served, after it convicted him to four-and-a-half years on terrorism charges.