Veysel Filiz, a former press counselor at the Turkish Embassy in Brussels and the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion (EMISCO) spokesperson, was arrested on drug trafficking charges after police found 100 kilos of heroin in his vehicle, the Sözcü daily reported on Tuesday.
Filiz, who frequently appears on pro-government TV news outlets as a foreign policy expert, was fired from his job at the Turkish Embassy in Brussels in 2017 due to an investigation into threats sent on social media to dissident Turkish journalists abroad following a coup attempt in July 2016.
According to the report, the former official was taken into custody on Dec. 9 by Turkish police who found 100 kilos of heroin, with a market value of around €5 million ($6.1 million), hidden in his vehicle at the Hamzabeyli border gate on the frontier with Bulgaria after receiving a tip-off.
Reports of his arrest surfaced nearly two weeks later since the border gate officials were ordered by Turkey’s Trade Ministry to keep the incident out of public view.
Fatih Filiz, the son of the former embassy official, confirmed the reports on Sunday, telling the Belemtürk news website that the arrest was part of a “conspiracy’’ against his father.
“It is true that there is an investigation taking place at the moment, but I can’t give you any information about it. I fail to understand how the news got out when there’s a gag order on the case. What really happened will soon be made public, and my father’s innocence will be revealed,” he added.
Filiz currently heads the European Yozgat Federation, a cultural organization representing expatriates from the central Turkish province of Yozgat living in Europe.