Erdogan: Ambassador Bass causes visa row between Turkey and US

Cheryl Sanders
October 12, 2017

Erdogan noted that his country knows perfectly well that the weapons the U.S. gives to PKK's Syrian wing will be further used against Turkey.

"It is the ambassador here who caused this", Erdogan told a meeting in Ankara, referring to the outgoing USA envoy in Turkey, John Bass.

Speaking at a meeting with provincial governors at the Beştepe Presidential Complex in Ankara, Erdoğan said: "It is unacceptable for the United States to sacrifice a strategic partner to an ambassador who doesn't know his place".

Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Thursday that Turkey has received the request of the United States to solve the ongoing visa spat between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

He also said a U.S. consulate employee arrested in Turkey had not demanded lawyer access and the U.S. mission could apply to send a lawyer to see him. Turkish state television has reported, however, that the US Ambassador has met with Ankara's Foreign Ministry representatives on Wednesday.

The spokesman and deputy chairman of the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party Mahir Unal previously stated that Turkey hopes for an early resolution to the crisis in relations with the United States.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu have discussed "mutual visa suspension issue" over phone. Non-immigrant visas are issued to people who travel for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study.

Tillerson expressed his "profound concern" about the arrests, the US State Department said in a statement.

On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman said the spat had not affected North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or United States military ties with Turkey.

The U.S. suspended most visa services for Turkish citizens after Turkish authorities arrested a Turkish employee at the American consulate in Istanbul on charges of espionage and alleged ties to U.S. -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed for last year's failed coup.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters Tuesday that the US has seen no evidence that the consular employees were supporters of Gulen.

This latest incident aggravated the already tense relationship between Washington and Ankara.

Metin Topuz was arrested last week over alleged links to the network of USA -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of orchestrating last year's coup attempt.

Woman waits at USA embassy in Ankara.

Other reports by iNewsToday