Turkish court sentences U.S. consulate employee to five years in jail

A Turkish court sentenced a U.S. consulate employee in Istanbul to more than five years in prison for terror links in a ruling on Tuesday, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Nazmi Mete Cantürk, a Turkish security officer at the consulate, was found guilty of aiding the Gülen movement, a religious group blamed by Turkey for orchestrating a failed military coup in 2016, Anadolu said.

The court did not incarcerate Cantürk, meaning he will be free pending his legal appeal.

The verdict could further strain ties between Turkey and the United States. The two countries have been at odds over Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems, differences in policy over Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.

Cantürk is the third U.S. consulate worker to be convicted. Hamza Ulucay was sentenced to four and a half years in prison on terrorism charges in January last year. Metin Topuz, a translator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration at the Istanbul consulate, was sentenced in June to nearly nine years in jail for aiding Gülen’s network.

Gülen resides in the United States.