Декабря 12, 2017


Envoy says U.S. cooperation helped reduce attacks in Turkey

13 Октября 2017, 12:37 | Jan Cross

US Ambassador John Bass attends a news conference in Ankara Turkey

US Ambassador John Bass attends a news conference in Ankara Turkey

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 felt many allies were slow to condemn the coup attempt and failed to appreciate the danger it faced.

The strained relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies escalated last week after Turkey arrested a Turkish employee of the United States consulate on suspicion of links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of being behind a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

The Turkish government's crackdown on Gulen's followers in Turkey has led to the arrests of more than 50,000 people for alleged links to terror groups.

"Outgoing U.S. Ambassador John Bass announced the visa suspension and issued a video Monday discussing his decision, but there has yet to be any official comment from Washington".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his US counterpart Rex Tillerson discussed the issue over the phone on Wednesday, marking the first contact between Ankara and Washington since the two sides suspended visa services on Sunday.

Bass told reporters on Wednesday the United States government had still not received any official explanation from the Turkish government for why the employees were arrested in Turkey this year.

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"Let me be very clear, the person who caused this is the ambassador here". "It is unacceptable for America to sacrifice a strategic partner like Turkey for an impertinent ambassador".

Ankara accuses Gulen of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt that killed more than 300 people.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkish and US officials would meet to work on resolving the crisis and described talks between their foreign ministers as constructive.

"The information that a second person is there shows something is going on at the consulate in Istanbul", Erdogan said, adding that the US should evaluate how these "agents" infiltrated the mission or who placed them there.

He said Washington was defending a "FETO-linked person hiding in your consulate", and said a Christian pastor arrested in western Turkey past year was also "clearly linked" to Gulen.

"On the one hand, you arrest the deputy manager of my bank who has not committed any crime, but on the other hand my citizen [Zarrab] has been in prison in the US for two years without crime, trying to use him as a confessor". Both men were arrested on charges of sanctions violations.

"The information that a second person is there shows something is going on at the consulate in Istanbul", Erdogan said, adding that the US should evaluate how such "agents" infiltrated the mission or who placed them there. "You issue arrest warrants for 13 of my security staff who have never seen the United States", 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.

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