Turkey arrests American diplomat, claims he sold fake passport to Syrian refugee

Istanbul airport arrestTURKISH POLICE ARRESTED A man reported to be an American diplomat, allegedly for selling a forged passport to a Syrian refugee who then attempted to use it in order to travel from Turkey to Germany. The incident was reported on Wednesday by Turkey’s state-run news service, Anadolu Agency. The news story was soon picked up by Hürriyet, Turkey’s leading pro-government newspaper. According to the reports, the alleged American diplomat was arrested on November 11, and he remains in prison today. He is identified only as “D.J.K.” in media reports. According to Turkish sources he works at the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

The arrest took place at the Istanbul International Airport, Turkey’s busiest air-travel hub. Turkish media aired security camera footage, which shows D.J.K. approaching the Syrian man, identified as R.S., inside the airport’s departures hall. The two men then appear to casually swap jackets before separating. The Syrian man then goes to the departures lounge, where he presents an immigration police officer with a passport. He is arrested by police soon thereafter, as is D.J.K.

Some reports claim that D.J.K. gave R.S. his own passport, while other reports suggest that it was in actually a forged passport that bore D.J.K.’s name. Allegedly R.S. gave D.J.K. $10,000 in exchange for the passport. According to Turkish police, the cash was found inside an envelope that was in D.J.K.’s possession at the time of his arrest. The Syrian man is now facing charges of forging an official document and has reportedly been released on bail. Unlike R.S., D.J.K. remains in prison in Istanbul.

No comment has been issued by the United States embassy in Beirut. Initially, the United States Department of State refused to comment on the case. Late on Wednesday, however, the Reuters news agency cited a source in the Department of State who said D.J.K. was not an American diplomat. The footage of D.J.K. and R.S.’s arrest can be watched here.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 23 December 2021 | Permalink

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