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US consulate worker sentenced to 8yrs in jail in Turkey for helping ‘terrorist organization’ linked to 2016 failed coup

US consulate worker sentenced to 8yrs in jail in Turkey for helping ‘terrorist organization’ linked to 2016 failed coup
A US consulate employee has been found guilty of helping a group that Turkey says tried to topple the government four years ago. US-Turkey relations were already under strain over disputes including an arms deal with Russia.

Metin Topuz was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison for “aiding an armed terrorist organization,” local media reported. He was found guilty of having links to a movement led by dissident Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a failed military coup in 2016. Topuz was accused of working with police officers and soldiers who had ties to Gulen's group.

Topuz worked as a translator and fixer for the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) at the American consulate in Istanbul. During the trial, he claimed to have communicated with high-ranking police and legal officials as part of his job.

The US embassy in Ankara said it is “deeply disappointed” by the verdict and has seen “no credible evidence” to support the court’s decision, adding that the allegations against Topuz “misrepresent both the scope and nature of the important work undertaken by our local staff on behalf of the US government.”

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Gulen, who denies any involved in the 2016 coup attempt, has been living in the US since 1999, and the US government has rejected multiple requests from Turkey for his extradition. American-Turkish relations have been strained in recent years by a series of disputes, notably Washington’s refusal to supply F-35 fighter jets to Turkey over the country’s purchase of S-400 air defense missile units from Russia.

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