Turkey Postpones Trial Of NASA Scientist Arrested For Possessing A $1 Bill
A court in Turkey has postponed the trial of a NASA scientist who has been in prison there for nine months since being arrested on suspicion of being a CIA spy and for possessing a $1 bill.
The trial of Serkan Golge, 37, was set to begin on Monday but was pushed back to May 26, according to Turkish news outlets.
Golge, a Turkish born American citizen, was arrested last July, shortly after a failed attempt to topple Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A search of Golge’s parent’s home uncovered a $1 bill, which Turkish officials have alleged is a sign of allegiance to Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in self-exile in Pennsylvania.
“With one American dollar, this organization turned the children of this country into monsters,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in a speech last August.
Golge, who works at NASA as a research scientist, faces 15 years in prison based on charges that he is a member of Gulen’s organization, which is referred to in Turkey as Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
Erdogan has claimed Gulen was behind the failed coup attempt and has begged the U.S. government to extradite him back to Turkey. Erdogan’s regime has arrested thousands of Turks suspected of being members of FETO. The government has purged tens of thousands more from government and media jobs for the same reason.
The Daily Caller recently talked to Ahmet Sait Yayla, a professor at George Mason and former top counter-terrorism official in Turkey. Yayla’s 19-year-old son was also arrested following the coup attempt for having a $1 bill, which Turkish officials say have been blessed by Gulen.
Yayla has become a target of Erdogan’s government after he blew the whistle on the Turkish government turning a blind eye to ISIS fighters. After testifying to Congress in September, he was photographed near his workplace in Virginia. The photos, as well as those of several other U.S.-based critics of Erdogan, were published in pro-government news outlets in Turkey. (RELATED: Who Is Spying On Turkish Journalists In The U.S.?)
Other Americans in addition to Golge are in jail in Turkey on trumped up charges.
Pastor Andrew Brunson has been in prison in Izmir since November. Despite having done Christian missionary work in Turkey for 23 years with no complaints from the government, Brunson was arrested on suspicion of having ties to a terrorist group. Though information about is case is limited, some reports have said that Brunson is allegedly tied to Gulen. (RELATED: American Pastor Jailed In Turkey Asks Trump To Help Him)
The delay of Golge’s trial comes on the same day that President Donald Trump personally congratulated Erdogan for winning a referendum vote which most outside observers say will curtail Turkey’s democracy.
The referendum, which Erdogan won by a razor-thin margin, will grant the Islamist leader control over Turkey’s parliament, judiciary and bureaucratic institutions. He will also remain in power until 2029.
Trump’s phone call undercut his own administration’s initial stance on the referendum, the outcome of which has been disputed by opposition leaders in Turkey. No other Western leaders have congratulated Erdogan on the referendum. (RELATED: Trump Admin Gives Differing Views On Erdogan Winning Referendum)