US disavows ‘diplomat’ arrested in Turkey — Analysis

While the State Department admitted that a Turk arrested last month in Turkey was an American citizen, it denies that he is a diplomat. Ankara had earlier claimed that the man tried to sell an imitation diplomatic passport to a Syrian citizen.

“We are aware of the detention of a US citizen in Turkey. The individual is not a US diplomat,”On Wednesday afternoon, the State Department made these statements. The State Department did not provide any further information, except to say that the US is “providing appropriate consular services”To the person, who is yet to be identified.

US diplomat detained over secret meeting with Syrian national

Turkish media had reported earlier in the day that DJK, a Turkish national, was arrested at Istanbul Airport on 11/11/2011. This report was based upon a police statement. The Istanbul Police Department said that passport control had flagged a Syrian national – identified only as RS – attempting to fly to Germany with a fake document. 

After RS was stopped at passport control, the airport police reviewed surveillance footage and discovered that DJK had been caught meeting him. DJK gave RS an envelope and RS received his passport.

Turkish media reported that police located $10,000 inside the envelope of the American and a diplomatic passport under his name when they searched the American. DJK was detained and still remains behind bars.

Although the US Embassy in Ankara was not available for comment, they did respond. The State Department’s denial brings into question whether the diplomatic passport the Turks say they found is authentic, or DJK was posing as a diplomat in Lebanon. Diplomatic immunity rules don’t apply to him because he was not recognized as such by Turkey. This is according to the Daily Sabah newspaper.

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