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Turkey, US Decide to Meet to Solve Diplomatic Row

Turkey, US Decide to Meet to Solve Diplomatic Row

The United States suspended most visa services for Turkish citizens after authorities arrested two Turkish employees at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul on charges of espionage over the weekend.

Wednesday's telephone call between Tillerson and Turkey's top diplomat Mevlut Cavusoglu came after the USA ambassador to Turkey said Tillerson held talks to try and resolve a major diplomatic break between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Speaking at a meeting with provincial governors at the Beştepe Presidential Complex in Ankara, Erdoğan said "It is unacceptable that the U.S.is giving up on a strategic partner like Turkey for an ambassador that does not know his place". Hours later, Ankara issued a similar suspension on visas for USA citizens in a tit-for-tat move. He also emphasized the importance of transparency and the need for the evidence behind the accusations to be known, Nauert said.

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.

Ambassador John Bass told reporters the embassy hasn't received evidence supporting the allegations.

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"I personally find it odd that high-level US officials did not conduct any means of communication with our foreign minister".

On Monday, Istanbul prosecutors summoned another Turkish national working for the USA consulate to testify.

If the decision was made after discussion with senior officials, "then we have nothing to discuss with the administration", he said.

Among them is also an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was detained last October and has been held in a Turkish prison ever since, despite repeated calls for his release.

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