Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Erdogan warns USA against "sacrificing" partnership with Turkey in visa row

US Ambassador John Bass attends a news conference in Ankara Turkey US Ambassador John Bass attends a news conference in Ankara Turkey
Preston Stone | 13 October, 2017, 00:37

The comments came a day after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested Bass may have gone rogue in suspending visa services over the arrest of a second Turkish employee of the US diplomatic mission last week, a claim rejected by USA officials later on Tuesday. "It is unacceptable that the USA has sacrificed a strategic partner like Turkey to a presumptuous ambassador", he said.

The Turkish leader also alleged that Bass and other holdovers in Washington from the Obama administration are damaging the Trump administration's relations with Turkey. Bass said Wednesday that the two sides were discussing ways to end the suspension, which has sparked a crisis in relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and shook Turkish markets.

He was referring to U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass, who suspended the U.S. visa services in Turkey to protest the arrest of one Turkish employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul. Other points of contention are the imprisonment of Erdoğan's personal security guards over their brawl with protesters in Washington in May 2017 and Ankara's demand for the extradition of USA -based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara accuses of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt.

He also condemned USA support for Kurdish fighters in Syria and separate US court cases against a senior Turkish banker and the president's own security guards, mocking what he said was Washington's claim to be "the capital of democracy".

Referring to a US grand jury indictment of 15 Turkish security officials who clashed with protesters during his visit to Washington in May, Erdogan said a lot of them had never set foot on USA soil.

Bass on Wednesday demanded Turkey provide clear evidence for linking the detained consular staff to illegal activities, while dismissing Turkey's allegations as "baseless".

All Whites to play Peru for World Cup berth
They rode out the draw to finish fifth and book a two-legged play-off berth with the All Whites, while Colombia finished fourth. Peru's national football team could win a spot in the World Cup for the first time in almost four decades.

Tillerson conveyed his profound concern over the detentions of Turkish employees of the U.S. Embassy and of several American citizens, according to State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

Ties between the United States and Turkey have been strained since last year's failed military coup.

Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Thursday that Turkey has received a request from the U.S.to resolve the ongoing visa spat. Western countries have grown alarmed at the scale of Turkey's post-coup crackdown, with 50,000 people detained and 150,000 suspended from work.

Addressing a group of regional governors on Thursday, Erdogan also slammed Washington for providing arms to Kurdish fighters in Syria while blocking the sale of US -made weapons to Turkish security personnel.

He once again criticized the US's hesitation to sell arms to Turkey, while instead "providing arms to the terrorist organization for free".

He said Turkey would abandon its plans to supply US -made weapons to its police force. "You issue arrest warrants for 13 of my security staff who have never seen the United States", he said. Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said Topuz, the arrested consulate employee, would be allowed to see a lawyer on Friday.

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