FETO suspect was absent from mandatory US lists of Turkish employees, but is subject to Turkish law, says Bekir Bozdag
The U.S. representation in Turkey should ask itself why they were employing someone with terrorist links without the knowledge of Turkish authorities, Turkey’s deputy prime minister said on Friday.
“The important thing to be highlighted here is the presence and employment of a terror-linked person at the U.S. Embassy without the knowledge of Turkish authorities,” Bekir Bozdag told news station Kanal 24.
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 on Wednesday.
Topuz is linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind last year’s defeated coup in Turkey, a judicial source said on Wednesday.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the attempted coup, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Topuz has been linked to a number of FETO suspects, including police commissioners and former prosecutor Zekeriya Oz, a fugitive accused of attempting to overthrow the government through the use of force, added the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Bozdag said that as a Turkish citizen, by law, details of Topuz’s employment at the consulate had to be sent to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
“Metin Topuz’s name was not in the diplomatic, consular, or official employees list submitted by the U.S. Embassy,” he said.
“If he was working, that means [Turkish authorities] were not notified.”
He added: “Even if notified, it is appropriate in line with international law to start legal proceedings on him, if he has no diplomatic or consular immunity.”
As a Turkish national, Topuz would be judged according to Turkish law, he added.
Asked about Topuz’s links to FETO, Bozdag said there was “serious information” about this.
FETO is also accused of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.