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Arrested US consulate worker in Turkey will meet lawyer on Friday - minister

12 October 2017

The U.S. claims to be an ally of Turkey, but Washington does not sell weapons to Turkey even for money while it supplies arms to the Syrian wing of the PKK (YPG / PYD) for free, Turkish quoted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying on October 12.

Erdogan noted that his country knows perfectly well that the weapons the USA gives to PKK's Syrian wing will be further used against Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his US counterpart Rex Tillerson discussed the issue over the phone on Wednesday, marking the first contact between Ankara and Washington since the two sides announced a suspension of all non-immigrant visa applications for each other's citizens on Sunday.

Ambassador Bass said the decision to suspend visas was a hard one for the State Department.

"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.

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Earlier the same day, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim expressed hopes to normalize the strained Turkey-US relation as soon as possible.

Currently, the Turkish Foreign Ministry is negotiating on this issue. He said that he couldn't comment on the charges or evidence against the two because Turkey hasn't provided the US with that information.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also spoke Wednesday with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu about the matter.

In response, Washington halted issuing non-immigrant visas from its missions in Turkey, prompting Turkish missions in the U.S. to hit back with a tit-for-tat move. Non-immigrant visas are issued to people who travel for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study.

The move followed the last week's arrest of a Turkish citizen and an employee of the US Consulate in Istanbul, Metin Topuz, who was charged with being linked to cleric Fetullah Gullen, designated by Erdogan's government as the main suspect and mastermind behind the last year's failed coup attempt.

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"It's a shame if the U.S.is governed by an ambassador in Ankara", he added.

Ankara wanted to open a new page in relations with the USA under President Donald Trump but a spate of issues have raised tensions, including the U.S. refusal to extradite Gulen and American support for Kurdish militias in Syria.

This latest incident aggravated the already tense relationship between Washington and Ankara.

In addition, Ankara's rapprochement with Russian Federation and purchase of S-400 missiles become the subject of criticism by the U.S.

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Arrested US consulate worker in Turkey will meet lawyer on Friday - minister