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US Says American Arrested in Turkey Not a Diplomat

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FILE - A U.S. passport cover is seen in Washington, D.C., May 25, 2021.

The United States says a person identified by Turkish authorities as a U.S. diplomat arrested on allegations of selling a fake passport is not a diplomat.

"We are aware of the detention of a U.S. citizen in Turkey. The individual is not a U.S. diplomat. We are providing appropriate consular services," a State Department spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday.

Istanbul police said the person was detained Nov. 11 on suspicion of selling the passport to a Syrian national. They said the person was found to be carrying $10,000 in an envelope and that there was security camera video showing the pair exchanged clothes.

Turkish authorities identified the American as having the initials D.J.K. and working at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

The Syrian was detained and questioned after trying to fly to Germany using the passport that was in D.J.K.'s name, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported, adding that the Syrian was released pending possible proceedings for falsifying documents.

U.S.-Turkey relations have been strained in recent years, in part because of Ankara's detention of U.S. diplomatic staff members accused of being associated with a network Turkey blames for a failed coup in 2016.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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