Turkish, US FMs discuss visa row over phone

Turkish, US FMs discuss visa row over phone

U.S. Ambassador John Bass speaks during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017.

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.

The U.S. ambassador to Turkey says he hopes the two countries can quickly resolve a spat over the arrest of a U.S. consulate staffer, stressing that cooperation between the two allies helped reduce terror attacks in Turkey.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the dispute has not affected the U.S. military's relationship with Turkey's armed forces.

"We'll continue to try to address the matter in way that enables us to lift our temporary suspension of visa services", Bass told reporters.

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Tillerson conveyed his profound concern over the detentions of Turkish employees of the U.S. Embassy and of several American citizens, according to State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. "If the ambassador acted on his own, then the US administration should not keep him there for a minute".

He also said a US consulate employee arrested in Turkey had not demanded lawyer access and the USA mission could apply to send a lawyer to see him.

"The information that a second person is there shows something is going on at the consulate in Istanbul", Erdogan said, adding that the USA should evaluate how such "agents" infiltrated the mission or who placed them there.

"The employees in question are Turkish and not the US citizens", the spokesman added.

If the decision was made after discussion with senior officials, "then we have nothing to discuss with the administration", he said. Because this is the position they are holding.

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