US Consulate staffer released from house arrest

US Consulate staffer released from house arrest

US Consulate staffer released from house arrest

A Turkish court ruled on June 25 to release a Turkish employee of the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul and his family from house arrest on health grounds but said he could not leave the country during his trial.

Nazmi Mete Cantürk and his wife and daughter, accused of reported links with FETO, had been under house arrest since January 2018.

In the hearing on June 25, Cantürk rejected the indictment claiming that he is a member of FETÖ. Also denying the charges of being in contact with dozens of people under investigation for FETÖ membership, he said he only spoke with officials who he needed to contact as required by his job.

“The people in these offices are public officials appointed by the state. It is impossible for me to know if these people had criminal records,” he said.

Cantürk said that in addition to having hypertension and diabetes, he suffered a heart attack in 2008 and needs to see his doctor regularly.

U.S. Charges d’Affaires Jeffrey Hovenier welcomed the move.

Cantürk is the third U.S. consulate worker to stand trial and face charges of membership of an armed terrorist organization.

One of the three, Hamza Uluçay, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison on terrorism charges but was released in January, with travel restrictions, after almost two years in detention.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the July 15, 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, which left 251 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to infiltrate Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

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