Turkish court refuses to free US consular employee

(VOVWORLD) - A Turkish court refused to release a Turkish employee of the US consulate in Istanbul on Wednesday, in a trial on espionage charges.

Metin Topuz denied all allegations against him and told the court on Monday that all his contacts with those in high-ranking positions of the state at the time were entirely part of his work as a translator and assistant liaison officer with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). His defense lawyer presented a list of his phone calls, saying they were entirely work-related.

Topuz, who has been held since his arrest in 2017, is accused of contacts with police and a prosecutor suspected of ties to US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says ordered an attempted coup in 2016. Topuz is accused of espionage as well as arranging arms trafficking through exchanges on the WhatsApp messaging service.

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