Turkey Says Visa Dispute With U.S. Must Be Fixed Quickly
ANKARA (Reuters) - The United States decision to suspend visa services in Turkey has punished citizens of both countries, Turkey’s prime minister said on Tuesday, accusing Washington of taking an emotional and inappropriate step against an ally.
Binali Yildirim called on the United States to move quickly to end a dispute which rattled Turkish markets on Monday and plunged relations between Ankara and Washington to a new low after months of tension. In a blunt speech to ruling AK Party parliamentarians, he also defended Turkey’s arrest of a U.S. consulate employee which prompted the U.S. move, and Turkey’s reciprocal visa suspension.
“Turkey is not a tribal state, we will retaliate against what has been done in kind,” Yildirim said.
Turkey says the arrested consulate worker had links to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for orchestrating a failed military coup against President Tayyip Erdogan in which more than 240 people were killed. Gulen has denied involvement in the coup attempt and U.S. ambassador John Bass said on Monday night that the embassy had not been told what evidence existed against the employee. The length of the visa suspension would depend on the extent of Turkey’s protection for the embassy and its staff, he said.