A U.S. service member has been released after being detained at the Istanbul airport over allegations that he was linked to cleric Fethullah Gülen, a top spokeswoman for U.S. European Command confirmed.
- Navy Capt. Wendy Snyder told Task & Purpose on Thursday that the service member was no longer in Turkish custody but she had no further information.
- Stars and Stripes identified the service member as Army Spc. Yahya Ozer, who is assigned to Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force–Syria. Turkish media have reported that Ozer was stationed at Incirlik Air Base as a translator.
- A State Department spokesperson said the department was aware of reports that a U.S. service member had been detained at Istanbul airport but declined to comment further on the matter, citing “privacy considerations.”
- It was not immediately clear how the soldier was allegedly connected to Gülen, whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has publicly blamed for a failed 2016 coup that resulted in a widespread purge of the Turkish armed forces.
- White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders has said President Donald Trump will consider extraditing Gülen, who lives on a compound in rural Pennsylvania.
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