US Consulate staff in Turkey sentenced for aiding terrorist group FETÖ

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A court in Istanbul on Tuesday sentenced Nazmi Mete Cantürk, a Turkish employee at the city’s U.S. Consulate, to five years and two months on charges of aiding the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Cantürk, a security officer at the consulate, was released earlier pending trial after his initial detention in 2018. His daughter and wife were also tried, but both were acquitted by the court in Tuesday’s hearing.

A prosecutor had asked for a 15-year prison sentence for Nazmi Mete Cantürk for being a member of FETÖ. FETÖ, whose leader Fetullah Gülen – a resident of the U.S. – was behind the July 15, 2016, attempted coup that killed 251 people in Turkey.

In his indictment, the prosecutor listed Cantürk’s links to civilians, civil servants and former police chiefs who were implicated in FETÖ cases. Among them were a former police chief who actively joined the 2016 coup attempt and police chiefs who conspired to topple the government in 2013 with cases built on false evidence to implicate people close to the government. Cantürk had also wired cash to now-closed associations and foundations linked to FETÖ, according to the prosecutor. The prosecutor asked for the acquittal of Cantürk’s wife and daughter on charges of FETÖ membership, citing insufficient evidence.

In June, Metin Topuz, another employee of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison for aiding and abetting FETÖ. Like Cantürk, he was accused of having close ties with the terrorist group’s infiltrators in law enforcement.

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