U.S. suspending visa issuance to Turks against alliance spirit - PM


He said that if the order to suspend visa issuance came directly from Bass, then the U.S. administration "should not keep him here one more minute".

It was referring to Turkey's arrest of a Turkish employee of the US consulate in Istanbul last week.

But last week's arrest of a Turkish employee of the USA consulate in Istanbul marked a fresh low.

Turkey responded with a almost identical message, barring most USA visitors from the country and summoning the top diplomat in Ankara to demand an explanation.

The U.S. ambassador to Turkey said on Monday the duration of a suspension in visa services in Turkey would depend on talks between the two governments regarding the detention of Turkish staff at the U.S. embassy.

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Turkish authorities accuse the USA employee of having links to Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher exiled in the U.S. and blamed by Ankara for the 2016 failed coup to overthrow the government.

Turkey's President on Tuesday said that neither he nor his government recognized the United States ambassador to Ankara following the suspension of non-migration visas for Turkish nationals. "In order to prevent this situation from hurting ordinary citizens even more, this issue should be resolved as soon as possible through a high-level Turkish-US dialogue", former Turkish Ambassador to Washington Faruk Logoglu said, adding that problems in bilateral relations have been observed for some time and the visa crisis is just one more irritant. Mr Gulen denies any connection with the coup.

There are a variety of tensions surrounding the U.S. -Turkey relationship, stemming from developments as diverse as America's decision to arm Syrian Kurds to the beating of protesters in Washington by Erdogan's bodyguards during a presidential visit to meet with Trump.

"If it's an issue regarding the arrest of the consulate employee, then this is a decision the Turkish judiciary has made", Mr Gul told reporters. The embassy on Thursday said it was "deeply disturbed" over the arrest and rejected the allegations as "wholly without merit".

Turkey on Monday pressed the United States to reverse its decision to suspend most visa services for Turkish citizens, saying people from both countries are suffering from the move, a Turkish official said, even as the family of a USA government employee was taken into custody.

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Ties have also frayed over the refusal of the United States to extradite Gulen, and its support for Kurdish militias in Syria.

American pastor Andrew Brunson, who ran a church in the western city of Izmir, has been held by authorities since October 2016 on charges of being a member of Gulen's group.

Erdogan suggested last month that Turkey could release him in exchange for Gulen but Washington showed little interest in the proposal.

Ankara is also angry over the arrest in the United States of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, deputy chief executive at state lender Halkbank, and the Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab.

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