March 25, 2018

Tillerson Expresses 'Profound Concern' About Turkey's Detention Of US Employees

12 October 2017, 03:26 | Taylor George

Tillerson Expresses 'Profound Concern' About Turkey's Detention Of US Employees

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left during their meeting in Istanbul Sunday

Woman waits at U.S. embassy in Ankara.

Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Thursday that Turkey has received the request of the United States to solve the ongoing visa spat between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke on the phone with his USA counterpart Rex Tillerson on Wednesday to discuss mutual visa suspension issue, a Turkish foreign ministry source said, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his US counterpart Rex Tillerson discussed the issue over the phone on Wednesday, marking the first contact between Ankara and Washington since the two sides announced a suspension of all non-immigrant visa applications for each other's citizens on Sunday. "It is impossible for us to say "yes" to this", President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a gathering of provincial governors in the capital Ankara, referring to outgoing U.S. Ambassador John Bass.

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.

In his call, Tillerson "emphasized the importance of transparency in the accusations made by the Turkish government and the need for the Turkish government to present the evidence behind these accusations", the State Department said in a statement. Turkey retaliated by halting visas services in the United States. It lasted more than 30 minutes, Turkish media said. Yet, US-Turkish relations have been strained over US military support for Kurdish fighters in Syria and the United States' unwillingness to extradite Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally whom Ankara views as the mastermind behind last year's failed military coup.

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