TURKEY

"US efforts to sway judicial process not helpful"

Turkey urged the U.S. to respect Ankara's judicial process, referencing a statement by Washington asking for the release of Metin Topuz, who has suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

A Turkish court ruled to keep the Turkish employee of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul behind bars for his alleged ties to terror group accused of being behind the 2016 coup attempt.

He stands trial on charges of espionage and overthrowing the Turkish government.

"Disappointed by the result of yesterday's hearing in #Turkey. We have seen no credible evidence of any wrongdoing, yet @ABDIstanbul employee Metin Topuz remains in prison," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus tweeted.

"We again urge Turkish authorities to resolve this matter swiftly, transparently, and fairly."

The Turkish Embassy in Washington responded on the social media platform. "Turkey is a democratic state governed by the rule of law. Everyone must respect the decisions of the independent courts. Attempts aiming at influencing due judicial process are not helpful," it said.

Topuz had contacts with Zekeriya Oz, a key FETÖ fugitive, as well as former police chiefs and soldiers affiliated with the terrorist group, according to an indictment by Istanbul prosecutors.

If convicted, Topuz face a life sentence.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETÖ 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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