Turkey responded on Tuesday to a US call to release Osman Kavala, saying the judicial process was still ongoing and that Washington’s call was not consistent with principles of law.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a written statement that everybody must respect the judicial process in Turkey led by independent courts, adding that Kavala had been acquitted of charges in February before being re-arrested over accusations on another crime.

Aksoy went on to say that the US was using the legal process as an excuse not to extradite Fetullah Gulen, the US-based leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) that orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

He accused the US of contradicting itself in interfering in Kavala’s trial, while Hakan Atilla, the former deputy head of Turkey’s state lender Halkbank, had been held in custody in the US for months even before any charges had been brought up against him.

Aksoy concluded that the rule of law was firmly established in Turkey and that none could order its courts on judicial proceedings.

Kavala was first arrested over criminal charges related to the 2013 Gezi protests, a small number of demonstrations in Istanbul that later transformed into a nationwide wave of protests against the government which left eight protestors and a police officer dead.

The businessman was later remanded into custody by an Istanbul court as part of a probe into the 2016 defeated coup with prosecutors accusing him of spying.

FETO terror group and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Turkey accuses FETO of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

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