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Turkey resumes pressure on US Consulate staff

Turkey has reneged on its pledge to not hound locally employed staff at US missions on its soil, with police interrogating a Turkish citizen working for the US Consulate in Istanbul yesterday, Al-Monitor has learned. The move could likely accelerate the US administration's plans to apply targeted visa sanctions against Turkish officials deemed to be involved in the unlawful detentions of US Consulate staff, provided that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gives final approval, sources close to the Donald Trump administration told Al-Monitor.

The sources, who spoke on strict condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the topic, said the local staff member was issued a police summons around three weeks ago. Yesterday, he presented himself to police with his lawyer at hand. He was interrogated for four hours. The employee was not formally charged with anything but was asked to remain in his house until further notice. One of the sources described his situation as “effective house arrest.” He did not come into work today.

The man is the same one who was being sought for interrogation when fellow local employee Metin Topuz was detained then arrested last October on charges of being linked to the July 2016 coup attempt.