Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Tillerson discusses visa crisis with Turkish foreign minister

Tillerson discusses visa crisis with Turkish foreign minister

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu discussed the visa crisis between Turkey and the USA with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson on the phone.

In a phone conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Tillerson also called on the Turkish government to present evidence behind the accusations against the employees, the department said. Turkey retaliated by halting visas services in the United States.

Erdogan warned that Turkish-U.S. ties could be further damaged if U.S. President Donald Trump's administration played a role in the visa decision.

The crisis in relations between Turkey and the U.S. harms the national interests of both sides, Turkish media cited the country's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag as saying October 12.

In a retaliatory move, Turkey's Washington Embassy also suspended non-immigrant visa services, saying, "Recent events have forced Turkish Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of the United States to the security of Turkish Mission facilities and personnel". He said that he couldn't comment on the charges or evidence against the two because Turkey hasn't provided the USA with that information.

"I find the lack of consultation by senior US authorities with our foreign minister awkward", Erdogan said in televised remarks in Belgrade, Serbia, on Tuesday.

He said Turkey considered the safety and security of U.S. diplomats and employees in Turkey a "top priority" and described the detention of staff at United States missions in Turkey as "routine" investigations. It lasted more than 30 minutes, Turkish media said.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara on Wednesday, US Ambassador John Bass said the US sought an official explanation from Ankara concerning the arrests. "He appears to be being held simply because he's an American citizen who as a man of faith was in contact with a range of people in this country who he was trying to help in keeping with his faith".

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