Economy

Erdogan warns U.S. against "sacrificing" partnership with Turkey in visa row

Erdogan warns U.S. against

"It is concerning for an Ankara ambassador to take such a decision then claim he took it "in the name of my country", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.

Ambassador Bass told reporters on Wednesday the U.S. government had still not received any official explanation from the Turkish government for why the employee was arrested. "You issue arrest warrants for 13 of my security staff who have never seen the United States", he said.

In remarks apparently aimed at defusing tensions between the two countries, Simsek told an event in Washington that Turkey considered the safety and security of U.S. diplomats and employees in Turkey a "top priority" and described the detention of staff at USA missions in Turkey as "routine" investigations.

If the decision was made after discussion with senior officials, "then we have nothing to discuss with the administration", he said.

Turkey's ties with the US have frayed since the failed coup against Erdogan in July 2016.

Erdogan also rebuffed criticism of Turkey's arrest of the consulate employee, alleging he had ties to US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of masterminding a coup attempt a year ago. In return, Ankara imposed tit-for-tat measures implementing the same measures.

"Our ambassadors tend not to do things unilaterally", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on October 10.

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"Let me be very clear, the person who caused this is the ambassador here".

"It is unacceptable for the U.S. to sacrifice Turkey's strategic partnership for an impertinent ambassador".

"If an ambassador in Ankara is governing the United States, it is a shame", he added. "They should have said, 'You cannot treat my strategic ally this way, you cannot act this way.' But they couldn't say this", he said.

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

The US mission in Turkey announced on Sunday that it had stopped all non-immigrant visa services amid concerns over "the security of US mission and (its) personnel". Gulen, who denies plotting the insurrection, is wanted in Turkey, but USA officials are still processing an extradition request.

President Erdoğan also referred to ongoing disputes between Ankara and Washington regarding the case of Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, now facing trial in the USA on charges of violating sanctions on Iran, in a case that has also embroiled former minister Zafer Çağlayan and state-run Halkbank deputy general manager Mehmet Hakan Atilla.

Hours after Ankara announced officials would meet soon to settle differences, Erdogan accused the US consulate in Istanbul of hiding an individual with links to a network he blames for last year's failed coup. "Meanwhile, you try also to save your pastor who has been arrested in İzmir, even though it is clear he has relations with FETÖ", he said, referring to Andrew Brunson, a Presbyterian minister from North Carolina who has been imprisoned for nearly one year. "If the ambassador acted on his own, then the US administration should not keep him there for a minute". Then it was made a decision to order the detention of my 13 guards, some of whom have never even been to the U.S. Is this democracy?


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