Turkish, US Officials to meet to resolve dispute - Deputy PM

12 October, 2017, 15:26 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Turkish US FMs discuss visa row over phone

English edition of Asharq Al-Awsat - the world's premier pan-Arab daily.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said on a visit to Washington that Turkey is "safeguarding" the USA employees and "we don't want this dispute to last more than a second".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Turkey's foreign minister that the Trump administration is profoundly "concerned" about the detention of US citizens and the arrest of local Turkish consular employees, the State Department said. Turkey's crackdown against Gulen's movement has led to the arrests of more than 50,000 people for alleged links to terror groups.

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".

U.S. Ambassador John Bass speaks during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Tillerson expressed his "profound concern" about the arrests, the US State Department said in a statement.

The spat erupted after Turkey arrested a Turkish national working with the US consulate general in Istanbul last week over alleged link to the network led by the USA -based Turkish cleric Fetullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of masterminding a coup attempt previous year.

"Talks between the foreign minister and (US Secretary of State) Tillerson were very constructive". He also emphasized the importance of transparency and the need for the evidence behind the accusations to be known, Nauert said.

The United States relies heavily on an air base at Incirlik in southern Turkey to launch air strikes against the ISIS group in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

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