TURKEY

Detained US consulate local employee hasn't demanded lawyer access, deputy PM says

DETAINED US CONSULATE LOCAL EMPLOYEE HASNT DEMANDED LAWYER ACCESS, DEPUTY PM SAYS

Detained U.S. consulate local employee Metin Topuz has not demanded lawyer access or to see his family, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said Thursday in an interview with broadcaster Habertürk.

The U.S. mission can apply to send a lawyer to Topuz, Bozdağ said, adding "The testimony of a U.S. local staff member [Topuz], a Turkish citizen, was filed to both the police and the prosecution office in the presence of a lawyer."

"His testimony at the criminal peace court was also filed in presence of a lawyer. It's impossible for these to be done without a lawyer," he said.

Bozdağ also said that Turkish and U.S. officials have decided to meet to work on resolving a diplomatic dispute between the two NATO allies and, the talks held on Wednesday between their foreign ministers were "constructive."

The deputy prime minister added that Turkey has to take the U.S. Embassy's word that sought local personnel was not hiding in the Istanbul consulate.

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 last week. Topuz is suspected to be linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which is behind last year's defeated coup attempt, according to a judicial source.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the attempted coup, which killed 250 people and injured nearly 2,200.

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