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Istanbul prosecutor asks U.S. consulate employee to testify

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on Monday called an employee working for the U.S. consulate general in Istanbul to testify, one day after the two NATO partners engaged in a tit-for-tat suspension of visa services for their citizens.

"The person, who is a staff member working at the U.S. Consulate Istanbul and does not have any diplomatic immunity, has been invited to the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office for his testimony," the statement said.

It noted that the wife and child of the employee were detained in Turkey's Black Sea province of Amasya over their alleged links to the movement led by the U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fetullah Gulen, who is believed by Ankara to be behind a failed coup last year.

CNNTurk earlier reported that the Turkish authorities issued a second detention warrant for another Turkish employee working with the U.S. consulate, but Turkey's justice minister denied any knowledge of it.

Turkey arrested Metin Topuz, a Turkish national working for the U.S. consulate, on Oct. 4 over his alleged link to Gulen's movement, an episode that is believed to prompt Washington to halt non-immigrant visa services for Turks on Sunday.

Ankara retaliated hours later by taking similar move, as bilateral ties have been strained mainly over Gulen's extradition and Washington's continued arming of Syrian Kurdish militia, who are seen by Ankara as terrorists.

[Source: Xinhua, Istanbul, 09Oct17]

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