Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Turkey says doesn't need U.S. permission to prosecute citizen

Turkey says doesn't need U.S. permission to prosecute citizen

In a speech in Ankara to ruling AK Party parliamentarians, Yildirim also defended Turkey's decision to retaliate with its own visa suspension after the USA embassy announcement.

"We don't know if these arrests are singular events or if we should expect other Turkish staff members to be arrested for simply talking to Turkish government officials or the wider Turkish public in the course of their duties", Bass said.

The wife and son of the Turkish employee from the U.S. consulate were placed in pre-trial detention on Monday during an investigation related to preacher Fethullah Gülen's movement, an Ankara-appointed organizer of the failed coup from previous year.

The tit-for-tat response by Ankara after Washington's decision to suspend all non-immigrant visa applications has been described by the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan as very, very "saddening", even as he justified the reply by his country.

The Turkish statement mimicked the American one, but said that "effective immediately we have suspended all visa services regarding the USA citizens at our diplomatic and consular missions in the US".

The move followed the arrest on October 4 of a Turkish national who works at the US consulate in Istanbul for alleged involvement in the July 2016 coup attempt on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The dispute erupted last week when Turkey arrested a Turkish employee of the American consulate on suspicion of links to the group blamed for last year's failed coup.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday vowed that Turkish officials would boycott the USA ambassador to Ankara, stepping up one of the worst rows in decades between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. "We make the decisions about our own independence ourselves - we are obliged to take safety and security measures in order to defend our country", Erdogan defiantly said of his decision to purchase the system in September.

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The US embassy has dismissed the allegations against the arrested consulate staffer as baseless.

Turkish officials had expressed hope of a new page in Ankara-Washington relations under President Donald Trump.

"We do not see him as the representative of the United States in Turkey", he added.

Turkey has urged the United States to review its suspension of visa services after the arrest of a USA consulate employee sharply escalated tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Ties have also frayed over the refusal of the United States to extradite Gulen, and its support for Kurdish militias in Syria.

Turkey has pressed Washington for the extradition of the Pennsylvania-based Gulen, who denies any link to the coup bid.

Erdogan suggested last month Turkey could release him in exchange for Gulen but Washington showed little interest in the proposal.

Turkish business leaders have urged a quick resolution to the crisis. "Does this fit our alliance or friendship?"

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