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

Tillerson discusses visa crisis with Turkish foreign minister

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

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.

The United States suspended most visa services for Turkish citizens after authorities arrested two Turkish employees at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul on charges of espionage over the weekend.

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".

Speaking at a meeting with provincial governors at the Beştepe Presidential Complex in Ankara, Erdoğan said "It is unacceptable that the U.S.is giving up on a strategic partner like Turkey for an ambassador that does not know his place".

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the dispute has not affected the U.S. military's relationship with Turkey's armed forces. "Representatives from both sides made a decision to meet and work together", Bozdag said in an interview with broadcaster Haberturk.

On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman said the spat had not affected North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or U.S. military ties with Turkey.

U.S. -Turkish relations were already strained over U.S. 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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