The name of the new clash between Turkey and US is Metin Topuz

Turkey’s paranoia about the Gulenist Terror Organization, which orchestrated the aborted 2016 has caused deep suffering among hundreds of thousands of citizens who were summarily charged and put in prison or lost their jobs. The fear of Gulenism also affected American and German living in or visiting Turkey. In the summer of 2018, an American citizen and evangelical pastor Mr. Andrew Brunson was also detained and put on trial for being a Gulenist.  After Trump threatened to devastate Turkey with sanctions, he was given a light sentence and allowed to go home. 

A new clash is brewing between Turkey and US, as Turkish courts sentence a former Consular Employee Mr. Metin Topuz to 10 years in prison for being a member of the Gulenist terror  organization. 

The Sunni Moslem preacher Mr. Fethullah Gulen, who currently resides in Pennsylvania is indeed a nefarious political plotter, whose secretive organization has terrorizes secular Turks for decades, infiltrating the judiciary, police and courts.  He and his political acolytes deserve the highest punishment the law permits. It is Turkey’s medieval justice system and the “guilty until proven innocent”  approach to identifying and punishing so-called Gulenists which is causing pain in the society. Just like Andrew Brunson, Metin Topuz, too, was caught  in a new cast too wide, which catches more  innocents than culprits, which needs to rehabilitated.

In the meantime, what Erdogan promised to be a “new era” with US after his phone chat with President Trump is DoA. 

According a Reuters report,  a  Turkish court jailed a local employee of a U.S. consulate for nearly nine years on Thursday for aiding a terrorist organisation, a ruling the United States said would undermine the trust underpinning bilateral relations.

Metin Topuz’s trial has been a major source of tension between the two NATO allies, which are also at odds over Ankara’s purchase of Russian missile defence systems and U.S. support for Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria.

Topuz, a translator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at the consulate in Istanbul, was sentenced to eight years and nine months for aiding a network Turkey blames for a 2016 coup attempt, state-owned Anadolu agency said.

He has already been in jail for 2-1/2 years while on trial, accused initially of espionage and trying to overthrow the government. A prosecutor said in March he should be acquitted on those charges and instead face up to 15 years in prison for membership of a terrorist organisation.

Two lawyers for Topuz were not immediately available for comment.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement there was no credible evidence to support the court’s decision and the conviction “undermines confidence in Turkey’s institutions and the critical trust at the foundation of Turkish-American relations”.

Following Topuz’s initial detention in 2017, the two countries mutually suspended visa services.

In a 78-page indictment that included telephone calls, text messages and CCTV images, Topuz was accused of links to officials who led a 2013 corruption investigation and were later found to be members of the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for the abortive 2016 coup.

Topuz said during the trial that he contacted the individuals, who at the time held high-ranking positions in the police and judiciary, as part of his job.

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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.