Erdogan says United States sacrificing strategic ally Turkey

Behind the scenes How was Trump convinced

Behind the scenes How was Trump convinced

Hours after Ankara announced officials would meet soon to settle differences, Erdogan accused the USA consulate in Istanbul of hiding an individual with links to a network he blames for last year's failed coup.

The US Embassy in Ankara on October 8 announced it had suspended non-immigrant visa services at all diplomatic facilities in Turkey, as response, Turkey's Washington Embassy also suspended non-immigrant visa services in the US, citing security concerns.

Turkey felt many allies were slow to condemn the coup attempt and failed to appreciate the danger it faced.

Speaking to reporters at his residence in Ankara, John Bass said that he couldn't comment on the charges or evidence against the two, who are employed at USA missions in the country, because the Turkish government hasn't provided the US with any information.

The Turkish government's crackdown on Gulen's followers in Turkey has led to the arrests of more than 50,000 people for alleged links to terror groups.

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The United States says it is still seeking an explanation for the arrest - the second detention of a consulate worker this year.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu have discussed "mutual visa suspension issue" over phone. "It is unacceptable for the United States to sacrifice a strategic partner to an ambassador who doesn't know his place", Erdogan told provincial governors meeting in Ankara.

Ambassador John Bass told reporters the embassy hasn't received evidence supporting the allegations.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Turkey's foreign minister that the Trump administration is profoundly "concerned" about the detention of USA citizens and the arrest of local Turkish consular employees, the State Department said.

Ankara accuses Gulen of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt that killed more than 300 people.

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"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 these "agents" infiltrated the mission or who placed them there. He said that he couldn't comment on the charges or evidence against the two because Turkey hasn't provided the USA with that information.

He said Washington was defending a "FETO-linked person hiding in your consulate", and said a Christian pastor arrested in western Turkey a year ago was also "clearly linked" to Gulen.

Another consular employee was detained earlier this year and Turkish officials have said they want to question a third. "If the ambassador acted on his own, then the US administration should not keep him there for a minute".

Erdogan said US authorities had wrongly arrested the former head of Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank, and were trying to use a detained Turkish gold trader "as an informant".

"What a shame if the great United States of America is being governed by an ambassador in Ankara".

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been encouraging an impression that Bass may have acted without approval from Washington, a view that gained traction after several days of silence from the State Department and White House.

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