Turkish Naval Officer Missing In US
Navy Rear Admiral Mustafa Ugurlu missing since July 22
A Turkish naval officer working in the U.S. has gone missing, according to an official at Turkey’s Washington embassy.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, told Anadolu Agency that Navy Rear Admiral Mustafa Ugurlu failed to report after Turkish authorities issued a recall for him to return to his home country last month.
Ugurlu had been working at NATO’S Allied Command Transformation headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. An article on NATO’s website listed Ugurlu as the assistant chief of staff for command & control, deployability and sustainability at the headquarters.
Ugurlu left his ID and badges at the base July 22, according to the embassy official who added that no one has since been in contact with him.
Media reports have claimed a Turkish military officer is currently seeking asylum in the U.S. However, U.S. officials were reluctant to comment on the matter to Anadolu Agency.
If the reports are true, and the U.S. grants asylum, it could further exacerbate tensions with Ankara that have worsened following the putsch.
It would be the first such case since Turkey was rocked by a coup attempt July 15 by rogue members of its armed forces. Ankara subsequently sought to root out conspirators from the ranks.
Turkey blames U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen of masterminding the failed coup attempt and has asked Washington to extradite him to face trial.
Approximately 13,000 members of the military, police, and judiciary as well as civil servants have been detained and 6,000 remanded in custody since the failed putsch, and tens of thousands of suspected Gulenists removed from their posts.