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Archive for Turkey

Newsline: US Turkish Embassy slams kidnapping plot allegations

The Turkish Embassy in Washington on Saturday denied allegations that Turkey would use unlawful ways of extraditing Fetullah Gulen, the U.S based-leader of the FETO terror group. “All allegations that Turkey would resort to means external to the rule of law for Gulen’s extradition are utterly false, ludicrous and groundless,” according to a statement released by the embassy. The statement added that the Turkish government and its people want the immediate extradition of Gulen from the U.S. to Turkey, so he can stand trial. The statement came after a story in the Wall Street Journal claimed investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the Russia investigation discovered that the former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn met with Turkish representatives twice last year. According to the story, the latest meeting with Turkish officials took place last December, where Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. were offered $15 million to kidnap Gulen from his multimillion-dollar complex in Pennsylvania.



Newsline: New Turkish consulate to open in Libya’s Benghazi

Turkish ambassador to Libya Ahmet Dogan has stated that his country will take some new measures to facilitate the visa procedures for Libyans from Tripoli-based Turkish embassy, adding that it is working to open a Turkish consulate in Benghazi.


Newsline: Turkey, US end mutual visa stoppage on ‘limited basis’

Turkish missions in the U.S. have begun accepting visa applications again from American citizens but on a limited basis, Turkey’s Washington Embassy announced on Nov. 7, in a move mirroring a U.S. decision earlier in the day. “Turkey will resume processing visa applications of U.S. citizens at its diplomatic and consular missions in the USA on a ‘limited basis,’” the embassy said in a statement, easing a nearly month-long visa logjam and bilateral row. The Turkey-U.S. visa row was sparked Oct. 8, when the U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced the suspension of non-immigrant visa services to Turkish nationals. The move came after the arrest of a local employee at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Ankara. Earlier in the day, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey announced visa applications were being processed on a limited basis at its diplomatic missions in Turkey. The U.S. had claimed the decision to resume visa services came after Turkey’s assurance that no additional local employees of the U.S. mission would be investigated, detained or arrested for “performing their official duties.” In response to the U.S.’s claim, however, the Turkish Embassy in Washington said no foreign mission personnel have been subjected to a legal investigation for performing their official duties.


Newsline: Turkish police break into arrested US consulate staffer’s phone

Turkish police have broken the password of the mobile phone of arrested U.S. Istanbul Consulate staffer Metin Topuz, finding messages about media reports on the arrest of Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab in the U.S. Upon the instruction of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the cyber-crimes unit revealed WhatsApp messages from Topuz sent to an unidentified U.S. diplomat sharing reports on Zarrab, who had been arrested in the U.S. for evading U.S. sanctions on Iran. Topuz reportedly created a WhatsApp group conversation on March 22, 2016 titled “Reza Zarrab” at 8:51 a.m., and shared a report by daily Hürriyet on the arrest of Zarrab in Miami in his first message sent at 9:02 a.m. At 9:25 a.m., the U.S. diplomat stationed at the Istanbul consulate joined the conversation. Topuz wrote that Zarrab’s arrest was a part of an FBI investigation and they would accordingly try to obtain information about companies in Turkey. The Oct. 4 arrest of Topuz prompted an unprecedented diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the U.S., with Washington sending a diplomatic note to Ankara after the arrest, demanding the return of his mobile phone seized by the Turkish authorities. Washington stated that the phone belonged to the U.S. state and any information on it and its SIM card fall within diplomatic impunity of consulate staff, as per the 33rd article of the Vienna Convention.


Newsline: Detained US consulate local employee hasn’t demanded lawyer access in Turkey

Detained U.S. consulate local employee Metin Topuz has not demanded lawyer access or to see his family, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said Thursday in an interview with broadcaster Habertürk. The U.S. mission can apply to send a lawyer to Topuz, Bozdağ said. The deputy prime minister added that Turkey has to take the U.S. Embassy’s word that sought local personnel was not hiding in the Istanbul consulate. Turkish national Metin Topuz, confirmed by the U.S. Istanbul Consulate as a local employee, was remanded in custody over terror charges by an Istanbul court last week. Topuz is suspected to be linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which is behind last year’s defeated coup attempt, according to a judicial source.


Newsline: US ambassador to Turkey slams Ankara over staff arrest

The US ambassador to Turkey has slammed the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the arrest of a consular staff member. The detention last week of Turkish national Metin Topuz, who works for the US Consulate in Istanbul, sparked a sudden deterioration in relations and prompted Washington to suspend all its non-immigrant visa services in the country. Ankara responded by doing the same. Topuz was arrested on terrorism charges, but little else is known about the allegations against him. US Ambassador John Bass complained Wednesday that Turkey had left the United States in the dark as to why he was detained. He added that accusing US consular employees of terror-related crimes was “a very serious allegation.” His comments are the latest in a terse exchange of words to mark deteriorating relations between the United States and Turkey. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday for the first time since the visa crisis began, Turkish foreign ministry sources told CNN. No further details were given.


Newsline: Turkey summons US diplomat in escalating visa spat

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned the US embassy’s deputy chief in an escalating diplomatic row that has put both nations’ visa services on ice. State-run news agency Anadolu reported that the Foreign Ministry planned to tell Philip Kosnett of the US mission in Ankara that they expected the US to lift its visa suspension, which affects all non-immigrant visa services in the country. The latest tit-for-tat between Ankara and Washington began last week, when a staff member from the US consulate in Istanbul was arrested. Washington responded with the visa freeze and Ankara responded by doing the same.