Turkey President says he does not recognize USA envoy


Yildirim, though, said the real reason involved the arrest on espionage charges of a Turkish employee of a US consulate in Turkey, Metin Topuz. Turkey said the employee had links to USA -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for a failed military coup in July 2016.

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities announced that a second employee of the USA consulate in Istanbul had been "invited" to the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office to testify.

Soon after the announcement by the United States mission, Turkey responded by suspending "all visa services" for Americans in the US.

Erdogan, speaking in Belgrade, said he believes U.S. Ambassador John Bass overstepped his authority in suspending the visa services.He added that the United States should immediately withdraw its ambassador from Turkey. In response, the United States stopped issuing non- immigrant visas from its missions in Turkey, prompting Turkish missions in the United States to hit back with a tit-for-tat step of their own.

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"I find the lack of consultation by senior US authorities with our foreign minister awkward".

"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.

"We started a legal process against some people who work at the American missions, so what, " the prime minister said.

"That banker is accused of using the US financial system to evade sanctions on Iran, in deals worth billions of dollars, " Mr. Yildirim said.

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Within hours Turkey announced it was taking the same measures against US citizens.

On Monday, Bass released a video message expressing deep concerns over the arrest and subsequent treatment of the employee, who Turkish authorities have accused of having links to exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Mr. Gulen's continued residency in the US, where he has lived since 1999, remains a source of anger for Turkey. The US Embassy in Turkey said that it was "deeply" disturbed over the "baseless, anonymous allegations" undermining "this longstanding partnership" between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Ankara has yet to confirm the arrest warrant, but local reports say the country's security services were seeking to question the unnamed consulate employee, who remains in hiding on the grounds of the American consulate, regarding their alleged ties to last July's failed coup attempt.

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