Mar 28 2019

Turkish court keeps U.S. staffer charged with spying in jail

A Turkish court on Thursday ruled against the release of the U.S. consulate staffer Metin Topuz, scheduling his next hearing on May 15, Dünya newspaper reported

Topuz, a Turkish citizen and Istanbul-based liaison with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), was arrested in 2017 and has been accused of ties to U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara says organised a failed 2016 coup.

His trial began this week in Istanbul and Topuz denied the charges against him, while the U.S. embassy has called the accusations "wholly without merit”.

Another Istanbul consulate staffer, Mete Cantürk, is under house arrest and facing similar charges to Topuz, who faces life sentence in case he is found guilty. 

Turkey and the United State temporarily suspended all non-immigrant visa services in 2017, after Turkey's arrest of the U.S. consulate employee sharply escalated tensions between the two NATO allies.