Turkey arrests US consulate employee


Turkey has detained 291 people since Monday on suspicion of links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, the state-run Anadolu news agency reports.

A Turkish citizen who worked for the US consulate in Istanbul was among those arrested.

On Thursday, the authorities issued 133 arrest warrants for alleged Gulenists.

The government says all those who had the free-to-download application ByLock installed on their phones are members of the organisation.

Among those detained were approximately 38 teachers and a number of former employees of ministries and local municipalities.

Ankara blames Gulen, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for orchestrating the attempted coup last year. The preacher, who resides in the US, denies the charges.

The arrest of the staff member of the US consulate in Istanbul, announced Wednesday, is the second of an employee of Washington’s diplomatic service in the country this year, amid heightened tensions between the two nations over a number of issues.

The United States says it’s “deeply disturbed” by the arrest of the staff member of its consulate in Istanbul, according to a statement from the embassy in Ankara.

The statement also noted “leaks from Turkish government sources seemingly aimed at trying the employee in the media, rather than in a court of law.”

The embassy said it believes the allegations against the employee are “wholly without merit.”

The embassy noted the role local employees play in building cooperation between the two nations, saying: “Baseless, anonymous allegations against our employees undermine and devalue this long-standing partnership.”

More than 50,000 people are in jail accused of being Gulenists.


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