What a shame if U.S. governed by an ambassador in Ankara, Erdoğan says on visa dispute


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday said the US was in danger of "sacrificing" its relations with Turkey, as he blamed the American envoy to Ankara for the crisis in relations between the NATO allies and saying in his speech that "What a shame if the great United States of America is being governed by an ambassador in Ankara."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blamed his country's dispute with the United States on the outgoing U.S. ambassador on Thursday, saying Washington was "sacrificing" relations with its NATO ally.

"Let me be very clear, the person who caused this is the ambassador here. It is unacceptable for the United States to sacrifice a strategic partner to an ambassador who doesn't know his place," Erdoğan told provincial governors in Ankara.

Erdoğan added: "What a shame if the great United States of America is being governed by an ambassador in Ankara. Because this is the position they are holding. They should have said, 'You cannot treat my strategic ally this way, you cannot act this way.' But they couldn't say this."

He said the US response to the arrest of the consulate employee was "unfair" and "disproportionate", and urged for common sense.

Turkey stood by its decision to suspend issuing Turkish visas in the United States, in response to Washington's visa services suspension in Turkey, Erdoğan said in a statement.

Although Turkish officials blamed the ambassador for the spat, the State Department said Bass had been operating with the full authority of the US government.

Bass is due to leave Turkey at the weekend after he was named the US envoy to Afghanistan earlier this year.

Erdoğan said on Thursday the United States was hiding a suspect in its Istanbul consulate who is linked to a U.S.-based FETO ringleader Gulen.

He also called attention to, in his statements on visa crisis, that U.S. consulate worker sought by Turkish police was "clearly tied" to U.S. based FETO ring leader Gulen who Turkey wanted extradited.

Halkbank Deputy GM is held in U.S. but he's not guilty, he also added.

He slammed the U.S.' stance on Turkey, and reiterated his criticism of U.S. support for the PKK terrorist group's Syrian wing the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed branch the People's Protection Units (YPG).

Erdoğan stated that no one can claim the "terror corridor" formed south of Turkey is to fight Daesh, and the real aim is to besiege Turkey.

He also announced that Turkey would no longer use U.S. made Sig Sauer weapons in its police force.

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.

Ankara wanted to open a new page in relations with the US under President Donald Trump but a spate of issues have raised tensions, including the US refusal to extradite Gulen and American support for Kurdish militias in Syria.

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