In this photo taken on Monday, Aug, 27, 2018, Cafer Topkaya, a former naval officer posted to NATO, looks at his diary, during an interview in his apartment in Brussels. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
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Purged NATO officer speaks out after escaping TurkeyIn his sixth week of detention, Cafer Topkaya stopped counting the days in his prison diary, realizing he wouldn't be going home anytime soon. Like many caught up in the crackdown after the failed military coup in Turkey two years ago, the 42-year-old naval officer had believed he could simply prove his innocence in court. It's rare for military officers accused of supporting the coup to speak in public.Topkaya was working as a Turkish officer at NATO in Brussels when news broke of the military uprising against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that killed 250 people in July 2016 . Erdogan blamed the attempted coup on Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally living in exile in the U.S., and swiftly cracked down on suspected supporters of Gulen's movement across Turkey.While Turkey is a longtime alliance member and hundreds of Turkish nationals are posted at NATO headquarters, being seen as pro-NATO or pro-Western is an indictment these days, Topkaya said.In Turkey, Topkaya was called a traitor by his own brother, who applied to change his family name, according to Turkish media.
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