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Erdoğan says ‘nothing to discuss’ with US if administration initiated visa row

in EUROPE/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

President Tayyip Erdoğan blamed the U.S. ambassador to Turkey on Tuesday for a diplomatic crisis between the two countries and said Ankara no longer considered him Washington’s envoy. In a blunt and personal attack on outgoing ambassador John Bass, Erdoğan suggested Bass acted unilaterally in suspending visa services in Turkey after the arrest of a U.S. consulate worker, and said “agents” had infiltrated U.S. missions. 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 U.S. court cases against Turkish officials. The U.S. embassy said on Sunday night it was suspending visa services while it assessed Turkey’s commitment to the safety of its missions and its staff, a message reiterated in a video released by Bass late on Monday. The embassy said allegations that the arrested employee had links to Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric blamed by Ankara for orchestrating the failed coup against Erdoğan last year, were baseless.

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