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Archive for Turkey

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.


Newsline: Sweden summons Turkey ambassador after Swedish citizen charged

Sweden summoned Turkey’s ambassador on Monday over concerns that a Swedish citizen, among 11 other activists, risks up to 15 years in prison in a case that has sparked international outrage. Ali Gharavi, an IT consultant and writer, was detained while attending a July 5th workshop in Istanbul along with several other human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director. Turkish prosecutors on Sunday sought prison terms of up to 15 years for the activists, the Dogan news agency said. Gharavi, who is of Iranian origin, has worked as the IT head at the Center for Victims of Torture, an international nonprofit group. It is the third time that Sweden has summoned the Turkish ambassador this year over Gharavi’s detention. Turkey accuses the activists, who include German citizen Peter Steudtner as well as the director of Amnesty Turkey, Idil Eser, and its Turkey chair, Taner Kilic, of “supporting an armed terror group”. But human rights groups say the detentions are aimed at silencing political dissent in a crackdown under the state of emergency imposed after last year’s coup attempt.


Newsline: ‘Batman’ game removes image of murdered Russian diplomat after online outcry

Gamers reacted with vitriol after a new chapter of Telltale Games’ Batman: The Enemy Within appeared to feature a likeness of the dead body of Andrei Karlov. In December 2016 Karlov was assassinated by a 22-year-old police officer at the opening ceremony of an exhibition in Ankara, Turkey, where he was serving as the Russian diplomat, following which a photo of his dead body went viral. Telltale Games have since responded to the incident, saying in a statement to Gamasutra: “An update to the game has been submitted this morning that will be removing the image across all platforms. We regret this incident occurred, and we are taking appropriate action internally to ensure that we continue to maintain our high standards in Production and Quality Assurance.”


Newsline: US embassy cancels invitation of Turkish columnist over newspaper’s report

Daily Sabah and its sister newspaper Sabah’s columnist Hilal Kaplan said Friday that the U.S. embassy cancelled her invitation to a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Ankara John Bass over Sabah’s headline about one of its employees’ suspected links to the Gülenist Group (FETÖ). Kaplan said on her Twitter account that an embassy official informed her about the cancelation, saying the Sabah story about the detention of the suspect was the reason for the decision, not her journalistic work. Criticizing the embassy for revoking her press credentials and “excluding somebody who has not even written the mentioned story,” Kaplan said that ‘from now on’ the U.S. has “no right to blame” President Erdoğan on such matters.


Newsline: US consulate staff arrested for espionage in Turkey

A U.S. Consulate General staff who allegedly kept in touch with Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ)-linked suspects, including former prosecutor Zekeriya Öz was detained Saturday and arrested by the court Wednesday as part of an Istanbul-based investigation, reports said. Identified with initials M.T., the suspect worked as a contact officer at the consulate general and made contacts with FETÖ-linked former police chiefs, Anadolu Agency reported. M.T. was detained for espionage and destruction of the constitutional order, as part of the FETÖ probe and had phone calls with Öz on a regular basis, reports said. Zekeriya Öz, who is believed to be in Europe after he fled Turkey, faces life terms.