Duvar English

An employee of the United States’ Istanbul consulate faces up to 15 years in prison on charges of being a member of the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

Metin Topuz, a Turkish citizen who worked as a liaison for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Istanbul, was arrested on Oct. 4, 2017 on charges of espionage and having contact with Gülenists.

While Gülen is believed to be the mastermind of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, Topuz was accused of attempting to overthrow the government via the coup bid.

During the hearing on March 10, prosecutors said espionage and coup charges should be dropped, but that he should still face up to 15 years in prison for membership of the Gülen movement, which is officially called the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

Topuz has repeatedly rejected the allegations.

“I have no contact with any of the organizations or individuals of FETÖ,” Topuz told the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court in the hearing on March 10.

“I had contact with law enforcement officials due to my role as a translator. I have over 1,000 talks with nearly 300 officials. This is my job. I’m innocent,” he also said.

The court ruled for the continuation of arrest for Topuz.

The next hearing of the case will be held on June 11.