Turkey arrests US diplomat over alleged passport handover

Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, The alleged incident took place at Istanbul airport last month

Turkish police say they arrested a US diplomat at Istanbul airport last month where they suspect he handed over his own passport to a Syrian national.

Officers say the Syrian man, identified as RS, was trying to fly to Germany using the document.

The American man is said to work at the US consulate in Beirut and had $10,000 in cash when arrested.

CCTV footage from the incident on 11 November shows the men swapped clothes at the airport, police said.

The US State Department has not commented on the allegations, which emerged on Wednesday.

The Syrian is facing charges of forging an official document and has been released on bail.

The diplomat, identified only with the initials DJK, remains in detention, according to Turkish police.

İstanbul Havalimanı'ndan sahte pasaportla Almanya'ya gitmek isteyen Suriye uyruklu yolcu yakalandı. Sahte pasaportun ABD'nin Beyrut Konsolosluğu'nda çalışan bir diplomata ait olduğu ve diplomatın 10 bin dolar karşılığında yolcuya sattığı ortaya çıktı.

— Hürriyet.com.tr (@Hurriyet) December 22, 2021
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Diplomatic relations between the US and Turkey have been strained in recent years, including a recent row over comments Western powers made about Osman Kavala – a philanthropist jailed over protests and a military coup attempt in 2016.

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