Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Turkey President says he does not recognize U.S. envoy

Turkey President says he does not recognize U.S. envoy

Commenting on his country's decision to stop issuing non-immigrant visas for Turks, Bass said in a statement published at the embassy's website: "The suspension allows us to minimize the number of visitors to our embassy and consulates while we assess the commitment of the Government of Turkey to the security of our diplomatic facilities and personnel".

The Turkish embassy in Washington said it needed to "reassess" the U.S. government's commitment to the security of the mission and personnel.

In its statement on Sunday, the Turkish embassy in Washington said: "Recent events have forced the Turkish government to reassess the commitment of the government of the USA to the security of the Turkish mission facilities and personnel".

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This week, Turkish authorities arrested a U.S. Consulate employee of Turkish nationality for alleged links to the network of U.S. -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government blames for last summer's failed coup.

The spat between the two countries was ignited by the recent arrest of Metin Topuz, a United States consulate worker in Istanbul who was accused of suspected links to Fethullah Gulen, who is a Pennsylvania-based cleric blacklisted by Ankara for orchestrating last year's failed coup in Turkey.

Metin Topuz is accused of espionage and "attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and constitution".

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The dispute erupted last week when Turkey arrested a Turkish employee of the American consulate on suspicion of links to the group blamed for last year's failed coup. USA citizens planning to visit Turkey should contact the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or a Turkish Embassy or Consulate in the United States, before travel.

US pastor Andrew Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for over 20 years, has also been behind bars for a year for alleged links to Gulen.

Meanwhile, Turkey's Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. embassy undersecretary on Monday, stating that the visa suspension has caused "unnecessary tensions" and should be reversed, sources told Reuters.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan's post-coup crackdown, which has been criticized by Western governments, has seen tens of thousands of people arrested and more than 150,000 soldiers, police officers and officials dismissed or suspended from their posts.

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