Turkey’s Erdogan blames US envoy for diplomatic crisis

October 10, 2017

ANKARA: President Tayyip Erdogan blamed the U.S. ambassador to Turkey on Tuesday for a diplomatic crisis between the two countries and said Ankara no longer considered him Washington’s envoy.
In a blunt and personal attack on outgoing ambassador John Bass, Erdogan suggested Bass acted unilaterally in suspending visa services in Turkey after the arrest of a United States consulate worker, and said “agents” had infiltrated U.S. missions.
The dispute has plunged already fragile relations between the two NATO allies to a new low after months of tension linked to the conflict in Syria, last year’s failed military coup in Turkey, and U.S. court cases against Turkish officials.
The U.S. embassy said on Sunday night it was suspending visa services while it assessed Turkey’s commitment to the safety of its missions and its staff, a message reiterated in a video released by Bass late on Monday.
“An ambassador in Ankara taking decisions and saying he is doing so in the name of his government is strange,” Erdogan said. “If our ambassador did this, we wouldn’t keep him there even a minute.” Agencies