Turkish, US FMs discuss visa row over phone


Mevlut Cavusoglu and Rex Tillerson speak on the phone to evaluate visa suspension row between the two countries

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke on the phone with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson on Wednesday to discuss mutual visa suspension issue, a Turkish foreign ministry source said.

Wednesday’s talk between the two officials is first since the U.S. Embassy in Turkey on Sunday announced the suspension of non-immigration visas for Turkish nationals following the arrest of a Turkish employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

No more details have been released.

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.”

Outgoing U.S. Ambassador John Bass announced the visa suspension and issued a video Monday discussing his decision, but there has yet to be any official comment from Washington.

“I personally find it odd that high-level U.S. officials did not conduct any means of communication with our foreign minister. It is concerning for an Ankara ambassador to take such a decision then claim he took it ‘in the name of my country’,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.

Erdogan warned that Turkish-U.S. ties could be further damaged if U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration played a role in the visa decision.

If the decision was made after discussion with senior officials, “then we have nothing to discuss with the administration”, he said.