Serkan Golge, a Turkish-American former NASA employee who spent three years in jail as a post-coup purge victim in Turkey vows to apply to both Turkey’s Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights to clear his name and find justice.
Golge was arrested on July 23, 2016, based on an anonymous tip-off call that he was a member of the Gulen movement.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames the movement for the failed July 15 coup attempt. Gulen has denied any involvement in the 2016 coup.
Golge told AFP that his release came shortly after a telephone conversation between Erdoğan and US President Donald Trump.
A Turkish sentenced Golge to seven-and-a-half-years in prison in February 2018 for his membership of the Gulen movement. He was released on probation on May 29.
Golge told VOA that he was released under judicial control and was given his passport on Friday but he will have to report regularly to local authorities and cannot leave the country.
He said he wanted to return to the US and his job at NASA, but as of now, it is not possible, as administrative control continues.
Morgan Ortagus, a State Department spokeswoman said they will continue to provide all appropriate consular services to Golge, including making sure he can return home as soon as possible.
Golge told VOA that he had been kept in isolation during his detention and only allowed out of his cell for an hour a day. Golge also explained that his family suffered financially during his lengthy detention.
His wife Kubra Golge told NBC News last year that the family had to sell their house in Houston, Texas to survive, following Golge’s arrest in Turkey.
He denied any contact with the Gulen movement and claimed that his detention is related to political tension between the US government and Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as the Ankara government wanted to strengthen its hand against Washington.
Turkish authorities arrested several US citizens and embassy staff since the coup attempt.
Ankara’s arrest of American pastor Andrew Brunson caused grave economic destruction in the Turkish economy as the Turkish lira lost 40 percent of its vales since August.
Brunson was released last October after months of pressure from the Trump administration.