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Turkish police question 2 US consulate staffers over Halloween party video

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Turkish police on Wednesday questioned two local staffers from a US consulate in Turkey over a Halloween party video that was claimed to have “denigrated religious values,” AFP reported, citing Turkish media.

The pair, who work at the consulate in the southern city of Adana, were taken in for questioning and later released, the local prosecutor told the Demirören news agency.

It followed a video that spread online showing a woman mocking Zamzam water, which is considered holy because it is drawn from a well in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

A man dressed as a pious Muslim advises her to have a “cocktail.”

The prosecutor said the two questioned were employees of the consulate aged 30 and 38.

A number of issues have strained relations between Ankara and Washington, including Turkey’s offensive last month against Kurdish militants in Syria, who were a close ally of the US in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

There was also a row over the arrest of several Turks working for US diplomatic missions following an attempted coup in 2016.

One employee, Metin Topuz from the İstanbul Consulate General, is still in jail pending trial on espionage charges.

In January a staffer at the Adana consulate, Hamza Uluçay, was freed after nearly two years in pre-trial detention over alleged links to the Gülen movement, which Turkey accuses of orchestrating the attempted coup.

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