Turkey releases detained NASA scientist Serkan Golge

Turkey has released US-Turkish scientist Serkan Golge from jail, a move that could help ease relations with Washington. The former NASA researcher is one of thousands detained in a Turkish government crackdown. The US State Department announced Wednesday that Serkan Golge, who Turkish prosecutors claimed belonged to a terrorist organization, has been released from prison. Golge’s nearly three-year detention — along with that of several other US citizens — has soured relations between Ankara and Washington. Golge was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison in 2018, despite State Department objections that he was convicted without any credible evidence. “We welcome the news that Serkan Golge has been released from prison today,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters. “We will continue to follow Mr. Golge’s case closely along with those involving our own locally employed staff” in Turkey, she said, referring to the detention of several US consulate employees and other US citizens in Turkey on terrorism charges. Before his arrest, Golge had worked as a full-time contractor on NASA’s proposed mission to Mars. As part of the evidence against him, prosecutors had claimed to present links to the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.–DT

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