President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came out strongly, hitting the United States as American officials seemed to be dragging their feet to end the visa crisis that has brought relations between the two "allies" to an all-time low.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about ending the crisis over the phone Wednesday night, yet he does not seem to have received any assurance from Washington that they are ready to find a solution immediately. They reportedly promised to send a delegation to Ankara next week to discuss the issue.
Erdoğan said Thursday that U.S. Ambassador John Bass is the one who caused the recent visa row between Turkey and the U.S. Speaking at a meeting with provincial governors at the Presidential Palace complex in Beştepe, Ankara, Erdoğan declared: "It is unacceptable for the United States to sacrifice a strategic partner to an ambassador who doesn't know his place. … It's a shame if the U.S. is governed by an ambassador in Ankara."
Turks feel the ambassador had a major role in the U.S. visa move and that his advice and disinformation played a key role in the move to halt U.S. visa applications for Turkish citizens.
Erdoğan feels the remaining staffers of former President Barack Obama's administration are trying to undermine the relationship between Turkey and the new administration led by President Donald Trump. That is no surprise, as the people who have run the U.S. State Department, and thus ruined relations between Turkey and the U.S., are still in there positions as Trump has failed to replace most of Obama's people in the foreign service. In fact, Trump is confronted with a mess in his own White House where his staff is in total disarray.
American officials have been too slow to respond to Ankara regarding the visa issue, showing very little regard for a situation that has the potential to further threaten ties.
American officials have to realize that some personnel at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul were under investigation, not because Turkish investigators are investigating the activities of the consulate, but because they are investigating a ring connected to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), and their search led them to the Turkish personnel at the consulate. So one person was arrested and another is being sought. The target is not the consulate and its activities, but the links of two of its Turkish personnel to FETÖ, the group that staged the bloody failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
However, there are claims that the FETÖ members that infiltrated the consulate may have actually been agents working with some circles in the U.S. that wanted to depose the Turkish government. If this is not the case, then there is no reason for American officials in Turkey to panic. When they panic or try to avert a proper investigation and take such severe measures such as suspending visas services in Turkey, there are quite a few eyebrows raised in Ankara.
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