The United States says it is “deeply concerned” about authorities in Turkey arresting a local employee of the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish media reports say the employee, identified by the initials M.T., is accused of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and Turkey’s government,” and alleged to have ties to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.
The U.S. Mission to Turkey said in a statement Thursday it believes the allegations to be “wholly without merit.” It further objected to the way the case was being handled, expressing concern at what it said were Turkish government sources leaking information and leaving the employee to be tried in the media instead of a court.
Turkey accuses Gulen, who lives in the United States, of masterminding a failed coup attempt in 2016.
Turkish authorities have since jailed 50,000 people in a crackdown that has also included firing tens of thousands of people from government jobs and shutting down more than 100 media outlets.
Gulen has denied the accusations from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.