Turkish judge orders jailed U.S. consulate staffer to testify in court

A Turkish court on Wednesday ordered a U.S. consulate worker who has been in pre-trial detention since 2017 on espionage charges to testify in court in a separate case, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet reported.

Topuz was ordered to testify at the trial of another staffer of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, who with his wife and daughter is accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation. The court ordered the police to bring Topuz to court for the next hearing on Dec. 18 on the grounds that Topuz had failed to attend Wednesday’s hearing.

Topuz was arrested by the police over ties to U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara says organised a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Turkish prosecutors formally charged Topuz, a Turkish translator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration at the consulate in Istanbul, with espionage as well as arranging arms trafficking through exchanges on the WhatsApp messaging service. He faces life in prison if found guilty.