US, Turkish top diplomats talk amid diplomatic row

Adjust Comment Print

The phone talk on Wednesday marks the first time between the two top diplomats spoke since the visa crisis surfaced last Sunday, Xinhua reported citing Anadolu Agency. "Representatives from both sides made a decision to meet and work together", Bozdag said in an interview with broadcaster Haberturk.

Speaking to reporters at his residence in Ankara, Ambassador John Bass said the decision to freeze visa services from US missions in Turkey stems from a conclusion that two Turkish citizens who worked for the embassy were detained for their work on behalf of the American government.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said on a visit to Washington that Turkey is "safeguarding" the USA employees and "we don't want this dispute to last more than a second".

"The information that a second person is there shows something is going on at the consulate in Istanbul", Erdogan said, adding that the US should evaluate how such "agents" infiltrated the mission or who placed them there.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara on Wednesday, US Ambassador John Bass said the US sought an official explanation from Ankara concerning the arrests. It lasted more than 30 minutes, Turkish media said.

Later Bass was asked by journalists whether the Turkish government had been contacted concerning the arrest of a deputy chief executive of one of Turkey's largest banks, prior to his arrest in the US.

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

Turkish authorities, commenting on the arrest of the Consulate General's employee, noted that he had links with the movement of Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of being involved in the 2016 military coup attempt in Turkey.