Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy says FETO members have infiltrated US missions in the country, after Washington criticised a court ruling of Turkish US consulate employee over terror-related charges.
Turkey on Friday accused the United States of becoming a "safe haven" for members of the terror group behind the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, after Washington criticised the conviction of a US consulate employee on terror charges.
"The rule of law prevails in Turkey and the Turkish judiciary is independent ... We ask the US authorities to respect the principle of judicial independence and stay away from any actions that may influence the judiciary," Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
His comments came a day after a Turkish court sentenced Metin Topaz, a US consulate employee, to eight years and nine months in prison on charges of helping Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO).
Shortly after the court's decision, the US embassy questioned the decision, saying its observers "have seen no credible evidence to support this conviction and hope it will swiftly be overturned."
In response, Aksoy said, "Essentially, Metin Topuz is not the only FETO affiliated person working in the US representative offices in our country."
"Also, Arif Yalcin, who was expelled from the Turkish Military Academy after the July 15 coup attempt and started to work in the US embassy in October 2018, was arrested due to his links with FETO/PDY and transferred to the Silivri Prison."
Aksoy said the members of the FETO had not only infiltrated Turkish institutions but also US missions in the country.
US declining Turkey's requests
Aksoy said Turkey's repeated requests for extradition of FETO members in the US, including its ringleader, have fallen on deaf ears.
"This situation reveals the insensitive approach of the US to FETO terror group. Due to this approach of the US, we anxiously observe how the US has become a safe haven for members of the FETO terror group," he said.
He said that Turkey's allies, which see themselves as the harbinger of democracy, freedom and rule of law, ignore these fundamental principles when it comes to terror groups that attack Turkey.
Statement of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hami Aksoy in Response to a Question Regarding the Statements of the USA Authorities against the Court Decision regarding Metin Topuz, Ex-Employee of the USA Istanbul Consulate General https://t.co/Np86sdFfyU— Turkish MFA (@MFATurkey) June 12, 2020
Case of Topuz
Lastly, he said Topuz has the right to appeal to the high court against the court decision within seven days.
According to the indictment, Topuz had been accused of having contacts with Zekeriya Oz, a key FETO fugitive, as well as former police chiefs and soldiers affiliated with the terrorist group and aiding in their activities.
He was also accused of four other crimes, including attempting to topple the Turkish government and espionage, but was acquitted on those charges due to lack of evidence. The court ruled for the continuation of his detention.
Mr Metin Topuz, former Turkish staff member of the US Consulate in Istanbul, was found guilty by the relevant Court in Istanbul, for assisting the FETÖ terrorist organization. He is legally entitled to appeal this decision in seven days.— Turkish Embassy DC (@TurkishEmbassy) June 11, 2020
FETO and its US-based chief Fethullah Gulen orchestrated 2016 foiled coup in Turkey, which left 251 people killed and nearly 2,200 wounded
Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.