Erdogan Hints US Should Fire Turkish Ambassador over Visa Freeze

Erdogan Hints US Should Fire Turkish Ambassador over Visa Freeze

This includes all nonimmigrant visa services at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to be escalating a diplomatic clash with the United States, saying the US should immediately withdraw its outgoing Ambassador John Bass if he failed to consult with his superiors over a decision to suspend visa services.

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 by adopting the same measures against the US. "We do not see him as a U.S. representative in Turkey", Erdogan said.

"We hope that the relations between the two allies will return to normal soon", Yildirim said during a meeting with provincial governors at Cankaya Palace in the capital Ankara. The Turkish Embassy in Washington took a similar decision in retaliation.

It comes after Turkeys justice minister urged the United States to reverse its decision to suspend visas for Turkish citizens.

"Turkey had arrested this year two of our locally employed staff in different locations and then had called in a third staff member just over the weekend", she said.

Turkey's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul on Monday said he hoped the U.S. would review its decision to suspend most visa services for Turkish citizens.

The US on Monday clarified its decision to suspend non-immigrant visa operations at its diplomatic facilities in Turkey, emphasising that it only applies to the consideration of new visa applications.

"Above all, the decision is very upsetting".

"If you have a valid visa, you can still travel to the United States".

The Turkish foreign ministry last week said the USA has no grounds to protest the arrest.

"In terms of bilateral relations between Turkey and the USA, we have now hit rock bottom. I hope the United States will revise its decision in this light", Abdulhamit Gul told A Haber television, as quoted by Reuters.