An Istanbul court issued a detention warrant for U.S. scholar Henri Barkey after a demand by the office of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor over charges of plotting July 15 coup with a group of scholars and philanthropists at a workshop during the coup night in an island in the Marmara Sea.
The same office who secured imprisonment of Osman Kavala, a famous philanthropist, over coup-related charges three weeks ago now aims to arrest Mr. Barkey who was at an international conference during the coup night.
Mr. Barkey, Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University, found himself in the crosshairs of pro-government media in Turkey and was portrayed as one of the key architects behind the July 15 coup attempt.
The Turkish media calls him a CIA agent and accuses him of orchestrating the putsch, which killed 249 people and wounded more than 2,000. Mr. Barkey regards charges as absurd and ludicrous.
The detention warrant came after The Wall Street Journal reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigates former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's possible role in an alleged plot to spirit away a Muslim cleric from the U.S. to be delivered to the Turkish government in return for $15 million.
The revelation sent shockwaves across the U.S. media landscape and political spectrum. It overshadowed Mr. Yildirim's visit to D.C. this week.
In an emailed statement to Turkey Post, Mr. Barkey, however, noted that the detention warrant against him has to do with Mr. Kavala, and has nothing to do with the latest Flynn report.
"He [Kavala] was charged with 2 counts each gets him life imprisonment. The second count simply states that he knows me and that since the court believes that I organized the coup, as ludicrous as this may be, that is sufficient to find him guilty," he said in disbelief.
"But they have no proof that Osman was ever in contact with me except for a brief encounter at a restaurant where we talked for some 3-4 minutes. They cannot charge him without charging me, hence I was not surprised by this outcome."
Mr. Barkey argued that they are desperate to show their public that Turkey is facing a slew of (imagined) conspiracies and therefore they have to prosecute and jail people.
"I am convenient fodder for them," he added.
A group of academics, scholars and civil society representatives gathered together in Buyukada in the Marmara Sea. The topic of the workshop was Iran.
"They blamed me for the coup because I happened to be in Istanbul running a workshop on Iran but because I am former U.S. State Department person. By attacking me they can lay the blame on the U.S," he told Turkey Post.
"It is immature, petty and ultimately self-destructive."