TURKEY

Topuz of US Consulate allowed to meet lawyers 3 times

TOPUZ OF US CONSULATE ALLOWED TO MEET LAWYERS 3 TIMES

A Turkish employee of Istanbul's U.S. Consulate facing terrorism charges had opportunities to access his lawyers three times since his arrest on Sept. 30, said prosecutors on Friday.

"Metin Topuz, who was arrested on charges as part of a Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) investigation, was authorized to meet his lawyers Selman Alibas and Halit Akalp on Sept. 30, Oct. 2, and Oct. 3," said a statement by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.

On Thursday, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said that Topuz and his lawyers were due to meet on Friday, but that to date they had not requested a meeting.

Topuz's lawyers arrived at Silivri Prison on Friday to meet with their client.

Topuz's arrest was followed last Sunday by the U.S. Embassy in Turkey announcing the suspension of non-immigrant visa services at all U.S. missions in Turkey, prompting a tit-for-tat by Turkey.

Topuz, a Turkish national not covered by diplomatic immunity, is accused of links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), the group behind the July 2016 defeated coup attempt in Turkey, according to judicial sources.

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

Topuz has been linked to a number of FETÖ 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 sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

FETÖ 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.

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