US Embassy denies receiving information request from prosecutor in Turkish intel trucks case
ANKARA/ISTANBULThe U.S. Embassy in Ankara has denied reports claiming that it received a note from the prosecutor’s office asking it for the reason behind phone calls by two Gülenist figures involved in the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) trucks case.
However, the Istanbul chief public prosecutor has stated that the embassy received the information request as of the afternoon of July 5.
“We are aware of media reports that the United States Embassy or Consulate General received phone calls from associates of Fethullah Gülen at the time of the MİT trucks case. Contrary to press reports, the Embassy and Consulate General have not received any request for information or been contacted by the prosecutor regarding this matters, and have no information to substantiate those claims,” a statement from the embassy’s Twitter account on July 5 read.
It added that it would remain in close contact with Turkish counterparts investigating the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Statement on Today’s Media Reports Regarding the ‘MIT Trucks’ Case pic.twitter.com/cR7kmDT49Q— US Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) 5 Temmuz 2017
Prosecutor İrfan Fidan said the information request was received by the embassy as of 3:26 p.m. on July 5.
According to a new indictment on July 4, a prosecutor’s office sent a note to the U.S. Embassy, asking for the reasons behind the phone calls and with whom the calls were held.
It said two civilian “imams” at the scene, Bayra Andaç and Muharrem Gözüküçük, spoke to the U.S. Embassy a day after the trucks, which were allegedly carrying weapons to Syria, were stopped on July 20, 2014.
“Imam,” which traditionally refers to a religious public worker, is a term used by the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen to mark local leadership.
The indictment stated that Andaç, who is a teacher, called and spoke to the embassy for 48 seconds on July 20 before having another phone call that lasted for 46 seconds. Later in the day, Andaç was determined to have spoken with the U.S. Istanbul Consulate for 36 seconds.
In addition, Gözüküçük, a labor and social security ministry employee, also held two separate phone calls with the U.S. Embassy, which lasted for 155 and 33 seconds each.
The stopping of the MİT trucks led to fury from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who denied that the trucks were carrying weapons to Syria in a speech he delivered on Nov. 24, 2015.
The issue once again came to the country’s attention recently with the arrest of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Enis Berberoğlu on espionage charges. He was accused of providing video material of the search of the truck to daily Cumhuriyet.