US Consulate Employee Jailed in Turkey
A Turkish court on Tuesday sentenced a third US consulate worker to jail for allegedly conspiring to overthrow the government in a failed 2016 military coup. Nazmi Mete Canturk, a local security officer employed at the American consulate in Istanbul, was sentenced to over five years in prison in a move expected to further strain relations between Washington and Ankara. Canturk denied any involvement in the attempted coup, attributed, rather flimsily, by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to cleric Fethullah Gulen, in self-exile in the United States. Canturk’s wife and daughter, also charged with membership in a terrorist organization, were acquitted. Two other consulate workers have been jailed for periods of four and a half and nine years after similar convictions. In July 2016, factions within the Turkish military concerned about human and civil rights and eroding democratic and secular institutions attempted to overthrow the government. They were overcome by Erdogan supporters. The attempted coup led to a months-long purge of generals, journalists, parliament members and human rights activists, with arrests continuing to this day.