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

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

English edition of Asharq Al-Awsat - the world's premier pan-Arab daily.

Turkish and USA officials chose to meet to work on resolving a diplomatic crisis between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and talks between the two countries' foreign ministers were constructive, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Thursday.

In a retaliatory move, Turkey's Washington Embassy also suspended non-immigrant visa services, saying, "Recent events have forced Turkish Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of the United States to the security of Turkish Mission facilities and personnel".

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

On the ongoing judicial process against Turks working for the US mission, Kalin said, "It is not possible to understand the USA move in connecting these latest developments to the visa issue or the security of the personnel working at the US embassy". Turkey's crackdown against Gulen's movement has led to the arrests of more than 50,000 people for alleged links to terror groups.

Tillerson conveyed his profound concern over the detentions of Turkish employees of the U.S. Embassy and of several American citizens, according to State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

In his call, Tillerson "emphasized the importance of transparency in the accusations made by the Turkish government and the need for the Turkish government to present the evidence behind these accusations", the State Department said in a statement.

He also said a United States consulate employee arrested in Turkey had not demanded lawyer access and the USA mission could apply to send a lawyer to see him. It lasted more than 30 minutes, Turkish media said.

"We are doing good work with them, military to military", he stressed.