Jun 09 2019

Turkish-American scientist held in Turkey vows to apply to high courts

A Turkish-American scientist held in Turkey for nearly three years on terror charges until his release last week vowed to take his case to both Turkey's Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights and clear his name, AFP reported on Saturday. 

Serkan Gölge, a former NASA scientist, was arrested on July 23, 2016, shortly after Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) fended off an attempted coup by factions in the Turkish military.

Gölge received a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence in February 2018 for membership of the clandestine Gülen movement, which the AKP blames for orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt. He was released on probation on May 29. 

The former scientist said his release came shortly after a telephone conversation between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump, AFP reported.

Gölge said he had been kept in isolation during his detention and only allowed out of his cell for an hour a day. He added that his financial situation had worsened and his detention had had a "devastating impact" on his family. Gölge told AFP that he would do whatever he must to fulfil his obligations.  

The scientist denied membership of the Gülen movement and previously said he believed the Turkish government had ordered his detention to use as leverage in its relations with the United States.

Gölge is one of several U.S. citizens and employees who have been arrested since the coup attempt. The highest-profile detainee, American pastor Andrew Brunson, was released last October after months of pressure from the U.S. government, including sanctions which contributed to a large lira slide last year.

https://www.france24.com/en/20190608-freed-turkish-american-scientist-vows-clear-name