Erdogan warns U.S. against "sacrificing" partnership with Turkey in visa row

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-12 22:11:25|Editor: Zhou Xin
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech during a provincial governors' meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 12, 2017. Erdogan on Thursday blasted the U.S. for "sacrificing" its relations with Turkey for an "impertinent" ambassador, amid the ongoing visa row. (Xinhua/Mustafa Kaya)

ANKARA, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday blasted the U.S. for "sacrificing" its relations with Turkey for an "impertinent" ambassador, amid the ongoing visa row.

"It is the ambassador here that created this incident. It is unacceptable for the U.S. to sacrifice a strategic partnership for an impertinent ambassador who doesn't know his place," Erdogan told at a provincial governors' meeting in Ankara.

He was referring to U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass, who suspended the U.S. visa services in Turkey to protest the arrest of one Turkish employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

"If an ambassador in Ankara is governing the United States, it is a shame," Erdogan added.

The strained relations between the two NATO allies escalated last week after Turkey's arrest of the consular employee for suspected link to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of being behind a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

Bass on Wednesday demanded Turkey provide clear evidence for linking the detained consular staff to illegal activities, while dismissing Turkey's allegations as "baseless."

On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara announced it had suspended non-immigrant visa services at all diplomatic facilities in Turkey. In response, Turkey's Embassy to the U.S. suspended non-immigrant visa services in the U.S.

Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Thursday that Turkey has received a request from the U.S. to resolve the ongoing visa spat.

"We will assess it and evaluate it in detail," Kalin told reporters in Istanbul, saying the ongoing row was not complicated for Turkey and "could be solved in one day."

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson discussed the issue over the phone on Wednesday, marking the first contact between Ankara and Washington since the two sides suspended visa services on Sunday.

Officials from the two countries are expected to hold talks soon to resolve the visa row, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Thursday.

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KEY WORDS: Erdogan