MIDDLE EAST

Arrest warrant issued for another US Istanbul consulate staff

ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR ANOTHER US ISTANBUL CONSULATE STAFF

Turkish authorities issued an arrest warrant Monday for another personnel working for the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, whose wife and son being interrogated by the police.

Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office stated that the suspect, identified by his initials N.M.C. and who does not hold diplomatic immunity, was called for testimony. His family were detained in the central province of Amasya, it added.

Turkey's Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül earlier said during a live interview in broadcaster A Haber that he had no information about a new warrant being issued.

The warrant came amid a heated diplomatic between Turkey and the U.S. over Friday's detention of a Turkish national working for the consulate over ties to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).

Metin Topuz, a Turkish employee working in the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul was arrested on charges of espionage and links to FETÖ, the group blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 249 people in Turkey.

According to the indictment, the suspect was in contact with a number of former police chiefs in Istanbul where he worked, and all those police chiefs involved in the 2013 coup attempts were FETÖ members in the judiciary and law enforcement.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara suspended all non-immigrant visa services in its diplomatic facilities in Turkey after the arrest of Topuz. Turkey responded in kind by cancelling all visa services for U.S. citizens.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Embassy Undersecretary Philip Kosnett Monday and asked for the reversal of the decision to suspend visa procedures for Turkish citizens, while calling for an immediate end to the dispute.

Diplomatic sources noted that Kosnett was summoned instead of Ambassador John Bass, who was out of the capital.

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ümit Yalçın had a phone call with Ambassador Bass regarding the matter.

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