Controversy over a call placed from the U.S. consulate to Adil Öksüz, one of the most wanted suspects in relation to last year's coup attempt that killed 249 people, lingers with new allegations.
Hüseyin Aydın, the lawyer representing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in trials where Erdoğan is the plaintiff, said a U.S. consulate staff called a phone number not registered to Öksüz while trying to reach him, questioning how they knew that Öksüz would use that number.
Öksüz, a theology lecturer, is a senior figure of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in charge of the group's infiltrators in the army. Prosecutors say he masterminded the nationwide coup plot with generals loyal to FETÖ. They went to the Akıncı military base in the capital Ankara on July 15, 2016, the day when pro-coup generals convened at the base to command the putsch bid.
The U.S. embassy confirmed in March that its Istanbul consulate denied a visa for Adil Öksüz and placed a call to the suspect to inform him while he was on the run from the authorities.
Quoted by Anadolu Agency (AA), Hüseyin Aydın said it was questionable that the consulate called a phone number actively used by Öksüz on the coup night.
"It begs question that how the consulate knew that Öksüz would use that number," he added, noting that Öksüz was in possession of two numbers, one belonging to him and the other, to his daughter.
The suspect disappeared after a judge, who was later detained, controversially ordered his release.
Aydın said the call by the consulate also contradicted U.S. cooperation with Turkish authorities to prevent suspects eluding security forces.
"It is clear that calling a wanted person would not help preventing him from fleeing [the country], on the contrary, it will make him alert that he is a wanted person now and facilitate his escape," Aydın said.
The U.S. embassy did not comment on the matter when Daily Sabah went to print.
Adil Öksüz was a frequent traveler to the United States before the coup attempt, often on the same day, from the same airport, with other key figures captured at Akıncı base, such as Kemal Batmaz, an alleged nonmilitary co-conspirator of the coup attempt who worked as an executive at a FETÖ-linked company.