Turkey seeks to arrest former senior CIA official

Turkish police have detained over 50 thousand people over last year's failed coup attempt against the government.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - An Istanbul court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for the former US Central Intelligence Agency station chief and vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council Graham Fuller in relation to last year's failed military coup attempt against the Turkish government.

The chief public prosecutor's office in Istanbul alleged that Fuller maintained ties with the outlawed movement of the Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, a one-time ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule and current opponent.

Judicial sources who spoke on condition of anonymity to the state media said Fuller was charged with attempting to overthrow the Turkish government, violating the constitution, preventing the government from carrying out its duties and espionage to obtain state secrets.

The Turks also accused Fuller and former State Department officer Henri J. Barkey of "organizing and coordinating" the putsch from a hotel in Istanbul's Prinkipos (Buyukada) Island in the inland sea of Marmara, reported Kurdistan 24's Turkish language service.

The July 15 coup attempt by a rogue clique within the army led to the killing of over 250 people, mostly civilians who were resisting rebel soldiers on the streets.

In the months following the unsuccessful plot for which Erdogan accuses Gulen of masterminding, pro-government and anti-American Turkish media implicated Fuller and Barkey of a leading role in the coup.

Both deny the allegations.

Turkish police have detained over 50 thousand people over links to the Gulen movement which Ankara designates as a terror group.

Istanbul prosecutor's warrant for Fuller comes amid rising tensions between the two NATO allies, as policies crafted in Washington and Ankara continue to diverge.

US armament of Syrian Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State (IS) group, Ankara's demand from Washington to extradite Gulen, and an ongoing New York trial of a Turkish tycoon accused of breaching UN sanctions on Iran with the consent and collaboration of Erdogan's government have added to the sour relations.

The strained ties hit a new low in October when the US government suspended all non-immigrant visa services in its embassy and consulates in Turkey over the detention of at least two consular employees by Turkish security forces.


Editing by Sam A.