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Turkey: 35 years sought for ex-US consulate employee

Turkish prosecutors are seeking up to 35 years in prison for a former employee of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul arrested for alleged ties to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

Prosecutors' indictment of Metin Topuz filed Friday contains multiple accusations including attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey, acquiring state secrets for purposes of espionage, and spying.

The first hearing is set for March 26, and Topuz is the sole suspect. There are 30 plaintiffs, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The indictment suggests that Topuz had connections to key FETO suspects Adil Oksuz and Zekeriya Oz. He is also accused of involvement in an earlier December 2013 coup attempt, but that is to be tried in a separate case.

2 defeated coup attempts

An Istanbul prosecutors’ probe found that Topuz had connections with former police chiefs affiliated with the FETO terrorist group and Oz, a fugitive former prosecutor sought for involvement in the defeated 2016 coup attempt in Turkey as well as the 2013 attempt.

Dec. 17-25, 2013 saw a graft probe and the detention of prominent figures in a FETO plot to overthrow Turkey’s elected government.

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

Ankara also 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.