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Turkish Lawyers Seek Arrest of US Troops in Incirlik Base Over ‘Links to Gulen’

An association of Turkish lawyers seeks the arrest of a group of American troops based in Incirlik Air Base in the southern province of Adana over alleged ties to Gulen movement designated as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government.

The Association for Social Justice and Aid, a group known for its sympathies for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, issued a long complaint against 11 soldiers alleged links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, Stars and Stripes reported.

The group seeks a ban on all flights in the base and demand access by investigators to prosecute the U.S. troops regarding the matter.

The move came amid the deterioration of bilateral ties between the U.S. and Turkey over Pastor Andrew Brunson.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal met with Deputy U.S. Secretary of State John J. Sullivan in Washington to discuss a wide array of bilateral matters, including the situation of Pastor Brunson.

The evangelical pastor from North Carolina spent 21 months in prison over charges of espionage and terrorism before his release two weeks ago. He has been placed under house arrest.

But this failed to placate the U.S. authorities who expected his complete release and acquittal from all charges. The dispute between two NATO allies eventually brought U.S. sanctions on Turkey as the Treasury Department hit two Turkish ministers with sanctions for their role in the detainment of the pastor. Turkey, President Erdogan said, would retaliate in kind but there has been no specific set of measures employed up until now.

Among the names whose arrest and prosecution sought by the pro-Erdogan legal group include General Joseph Votel, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, retired U.S. Army General John F. Campbell and Air Force Brigadier General Rick Boutwell, director of regional affairs for the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force, the outlet reported.

When contacted by the media, the Air Force referred all questions to the Turkish government.

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