US denies man held in Turkey for fake passport is diplomat

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — U.S. officials denied Thursday that an American citizen arrested in Turkey for allegedly providing a fake passport to a Syrian man is a U.S. diplomat.

Turkish officials said Wednesday they detained a U.S. diplomat at Istanbul Airport on Nov. 11. Authorities in Turkey publicly identified the man only by his initials D.J.K., and said he worked for the U.S. Consulate in Lebanon.

He was later formally arrested on suspicion of selling a forged passport for $10,000.

According to a Turkish police statement, the Syrian man was detained for questioning after he attempted to travel to Germany on a false passport, which was in D.J.K.’s name.

On Thursday, the U.S. State Department said it was aware a U.S. citizen had been detained in Turkey but denied the person was a government diplomat.

The State Department said the detained individual was being provided with the “appropriate consular services.”

Police in Istanbul said security camera footage showed D.J.K. exchanging clothes with the Syrian man at Istanbul Airport and giving him a passport.

Police also seized an envelope containing $10,000 from the diplomat, according to the police statement.

The American was jailed while the Syrian was released pending possible proceedings for falsifying documents, Anadolu said.