A witness is claiming that the U.S. consulate employee at the heart of an investigation into the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) also helped the group with sham trials. Metin Topuz, who was arrested last week for his close links with dozens of FETÖ suspects, arranged false witnesses for a prosecutor to imprison innocent people who were against the interests of FETÖ. One of those false witnesses testified. The unidentified witness told prosecutors that Topuz arranged a meeting with Zekeriya Öz, a fugitive prosecutor linked to FETÖ, and two men asked him to testify as a false witness against someone he was acquainted with.
The witness was a friend of Topuz, and he obliged when Topuz invited him to a meeting with Öz in 2008, the year when the now fugitive prosecutor was conducting investigations against several well-known people.
Topuz told his friend that he would be a "secret witness" in the Ergenekon case, and he would only "have to memorize some 11 names." When the witness told them that the plan would be "perjury," Topuz told him that they would "help the state."
The witness said he declined to falsely testify because he was afraid of getting caught in the act of perjury.
Mehmet Karatepe, an acquaintance of the witness, would be later acquitted of an Ergenekon-related case in 2012 due to lack of evidence.
Ruling last year on the Ergenekon case, the Supreme Court of Appeals, the country's highest legal authority, overturned the convictions of 275 people, ranging from the former head of the Turkish Armed Forces to lower-ranking military officers, journalists and academics.
The case was allegedly a FETÖ plot to imprison its critics through its infiltrators in the judiciary and police.
The U.S. Consulate employee is charged with espionage and violating the constitutional order, a terrorism charge.
"The suspect had phone contact with 121 people investigated for links to FETÖ and contacted people using ByLock hundreds of times," states one section of the indictment according to Anadolu Agency (AA).
Bylock is an encrypted messaging app that was used by the terrorist group to communicate under the radar.
"The suspect acted as a liaison between members of FETÖ and its leader, Fetullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania," the indictment adds, claiming there is strong evidence to justify Topuz's arrest.
According to the indictment, the suspect was in contact with a number of former police chiefs in Istanbul where he worked, and all those police chiefs involved in the 2013 coup attempts were FETÖ members in the judiciary and law enforcement.
He was also in touch with Oktay Akkaya, a former lieutenant colonel who was among the main actors in the 2016 coup attempt.
Government spokesman Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said in televised statements on Friday that the U.S. embassy should consider how they employed someone who was very much "linked to a terrorist group."
"How can someone intricately linked to a terrorist group work in a U.S. mission without the U.S. embassy notifying Turkish authorities of his employment? How can the U.S. embassy employ someone facing such allegations? They should think about that," Bozdağ said.
This is not the first time that staff members at a U.S. mission have been in the Turkish media's limelight for reported "dubious contact" with FETÖ-linked figures. Before Adil Öksüz, the alleged mastermind of the 2016 coup attempt, dumped his cellphone and disappeared after his controversial release, he received a call from an Istanbul telephone number.
Someone from the U.S. consulate in Istanbul called the former theology lecturer to inform him that his visa application had been canceled, according to U.S. embassy claims.
In an indictment in the MİT trucks case, Muharrem Gözüküçük and Bayram Andaç called the U.S. embassy and the U.S. consulate one day after the raid by FETÖ-linked officials on trucks belonging to the intelligence service in March 2014.
Both men are civilian imams for FETÖ, according to prosecutors, a term used to describe FETÖ's operatives who commanded the group's members in the military, police, judiciary and bureaucracy.
Andaç organized the controversial raid in southern Turkey that caused outrage, and on Jan. 20, he made three phone calls to U.S. missions in Turkey.
While it is not clear which consulate he called, it is likely that he contacted the consulate in Adana where the raid was executed. Andaç made phone calls again to the consulate on Jan. 21 and Jan. 24.
A teacher by profession, Andaç was a high-ranking figure in FETÖ. The other suspect in the indictment, Gözüküçük, a civil servant in the Labor Ministry, was the "handler" of Col. Erdal Turna, a senior military intelligence officer in Ankara who wiretapped the phones of MİT staff members and uncovered the secret MİT operation. Gözüküçük called the U.S. embassy twice on March 6, 2014, according to the indictment. The calls are highly suspicious as they were made from cellphones used by suspects only after the raid.