Er­do­gan Blames U.S. For Ini­ti­at­ing Visa Row With Turkey

Iran News - - FRONT PAGE -

ANKARA (Dis­patches) - Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan on Tues­day laid the blame for the cur­rent visa row with the U.S. at Washington’s door.

“The of­fender in this prob­lem is the United States of Amer­ica it­self,” Er­do­gan told a news con­fer­ence in Belgrade, Ser­bia.

The U.S. Em­bassy on Sun­day an­nounced the sus­pen­sion of non-im­mi­gra­tion visas for Turk­ish na­tion­als fol­low­ing the ar­rest of a Turk­ish em­ployee at the U.S. Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul.

In a re­tal­ia­tory move, Turkey’s Washington Em­bassy also sus­pended non-im­mi­grant visa ser­vices, say­ing, “Re­cent events have forced Turk­ish Gov­ern­ment to re­assess the com­mit­ment of the Gov­ern­ment of the United States to the se­cu­rity of Turk­ish Mis­sion fa­cil­i­ties and per­son­nel.”

Out­go­ing U.S. Am­bas­sador John Bass an­nounced the visa sus­pen­sion and is­sued a video on Mon­day dis­cussing his de­ci­sion, but there has yet to be any of­fi­cial com­ment from Washington.

“I per­son­ally find it odd that high-level U.S. of­fi­cials did not con­duct any means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with our for­eign min­is­ter. It is con­cern­ing for an Ankara am­bas­sador to take such a de­ci­sion then claim he took it ‘in the name of my coun­try’.”

Er­do­gan warned that Turk­ish-U.S. ties could be fur­ther dam­aged if U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion played a role in the visa de­ci­sion.

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

“But if that am­bas­sador made the de­ci­sion on his own, then that am­bas­sador must not be al­lowed to re­main here, not for even a minute. They [the U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion] must ask, ‘Why are you harm­ing Turk­ish-U.S. re­la­tions?’”

Men­tion­ing how the visa row fol­lowed Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties re­veal­ing the links a U.S. Is­tan­bul Con­sulate lo­cal em­ployee had with FETO, the group be­hind last year’s de­feated coup at­tempt in Turkey, Er­do­gan stated that the pres­ence of an ad­di­tional FETO sus­pect work­ing for the con­sulate “shows some­thing’s hap­pen­ing there.”

“How did these spies in­fil­trate the U.S. Con­sulate? If they didn’t in­fil­trate it, then who placed them there? We must ask such things.

“No state would al­low such spies that could cause a do­mes­tic threat. Turkey is not a tribal state,” Er­do­gan said.

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