Thu, Oct 12, 2017 - Page 6 News List

US seeking reason for arrest of Turkey staff: ambassador

Reuters, ANKARA

The US is still seeking an explanation from Ankara for the detention of US mission staff in Turkey that led Washington to suspend issuing visas in Turkey, US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass said yesterday.

Bass, blamed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for prompting the dispute, told reporters that the US did not intend to disrupt a long-standing relationship with Turkey and the two nations would continue to engage on the issue.

“Unfortunately... the US government still has not received any official communications from the Turkish government about the reasons why our local employees have been detained or arrested,” Bass said.

The US says two locally employed consulate staff have been arrested this year.

The second arrest at the Istanbul consulate last week led to the US announcing on Sunday that it had halted issuing non-immigrant visas in Turkey — a move reciprocated within hours by Ankara.

The dispute has plunged already fragile relations between the two NATO allies to a new low after months of tension linked to the conflict in Syria, last year’s failed military coup in Turkey and US court cases against Turkish officials.

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