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Envoy says United States cooperation helped reduce attacks in Turkey

13 October 2017, 12:38 | Austin Hogan

Envoy says United States cooperation helped reduce attacks in Turkey

Envoy says United States cooperation helped reduce attacks in Turkey

"We are not a tribal state, we're not dependent on you", Erdogan said.

Bass also said that the Turkish move "raised questions about whether the goal of some officials is to disrupt the long-standing cooperation" between Washington and Ankara.

Tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (Nato) allies rose in recent days after the detentions of two locally employed staff prompted the United States on Sunday to suspend non-immigrant visa services at its embassy and consulates in Turkey.

Simsek's remarks contrasted with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's statements on Tuesday that "agents" had infiltrated United States missions in Turkey and that Ankara no longer recognised USA ambassador John Bass as a legitimate envoy.

Turkish authorities last week detained Metin Topuz, a Turkish citizen working for the U.S. consulate in Istanbul. He added that Turkey is committed to "safeguarding" U.S. government employees in Turkey.

Erdogan spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said earlier that Turkey was assessing a US proposal for resolving the visa dispute. "It is unacceptable that the United States has sacrificed a strategic partner like Turkey to a presumptuous ambassador", he said. "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. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters terrorists.

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The U.S. ambassador to Turkey said that he can only conclude that two detained Turkish citizens at the center of a major diplomatic spat are being held for their work on behalf of the American government.

"Turkey has acted based on the principle of reciprocity, following unjust and non-proportional steps taken against our citizens with the suspension of visa applications".

Erdoğan also stated that the detention process of the US consulate officer Topuz "is ongoing within the constitutional framework".

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkish and USA officials would meet to work on resolving the crisis and described talks between their foreign ministers as constructive. 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 US -based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara accuses of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called on Washington to extradite Gulen since the coup attempt, but the USA has refused. "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.

Ambassador Bass said this week no one was hiding in the US consulate, and that he had seen nothing of merit in the charges against the pastor, Andrew Brunson. "Is this justice?" Erdoğan added.



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