Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Envoy says United States cooperation helped reduce attacks in Turkey

Envoy says United States cooperation helped reduce attacks in Turkey

Woman waits at United States embassy in Ankara.

Speaking to reporters at his residence in Ankara, Ambassador John Bass said the decision to freeze visa services from USA missions in Turkey stems from a conclusion that two Turkish citizens who worked for the embassy were detained for their work on behalf of the American government.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also spoke Wednesday with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu about the matter.

The spat 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.

The U.S. Embassy last week announced the suspension of non-immigration visas for Turkish nationals following the arrest of a Turkish employee at the U.S. Istanbul Consulate, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Ankara.

"Talks between the foreign minister and (U.S. Secretary of State) Tillerson were very constructive. Representatives from both sides chose to meet and work together", Bozdag said in an interview with broadcaster Haberturk.

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.

In his call, Tillerson "emphasized the importance of transparency in the accusations made by the Turkish government and the need for the Turkish government to present the evidence behind these accusations", the State Department said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday that USA and Turkish military forces continue to work well together amid the diplomatic row.

On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman said the spat had not affected North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or USA military ties with Turkey. Turkey retaliated by halting visas services in the United States.

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