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1ST LEAD Erdogan accuses US of sacrificing ties; delegations to meet next week By Shabtai Gold, dpa

Europe
12.10.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul (dpa) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out Thursday at the United States, accusing Washington of sacrificing its strategic relationship with Ankara, as the crisis between the two nations showed no signs of quickly abating.

However, Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul announced that a US consulate employee arrested last week would be allowed to meet a lawyer on Friday. A State Department spokeswoman this week said such a measure would be a "a good start."

Erdogan said the arrest of a US consulate employee was done as per the law and regulations, adding that Turkey is "not a tribal state."

A US delegation from the State Department will travel to Turkey next week to discuss the ongoing crisis between the nations involving the arrest of US consulate employees and the suspension of visa services.

Erdogan continued to try to pin the blame for the crisis directly on ambassador John Bass, whom he described as "impertinent," even as the US administration has publicly given the envoy its full backing.

"We are not dependent on you," Erdogan said about the US, addressing governors in Ankara, one of several recent jabs at Washington. Turkey will no longer buy Sig Sauer weapons from the US, he added.

Legislators in Washington have already blocked sales of guns to the presidential guard after a brawl in the US capital this year between Erdogan‘s bodyguards and demonstrators.

That incident in May was one of several events weighing heavily on the relationship between the NATO allies.

Two US consulate employees are under arrest in Turkey, while a US Christian pastor has been in jail since last year. Other US citizens are also in detention.

Turkish officials have noted their own concerns, including Washington‘s decision to work with Syrian Kurds in the war against Islamic State and the arrest in the US of a Turkish banker. The banker is accused of busting sanctions on Iran.

Turkey also wants the US to extradite Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric Ankara blames for last year‘s coup attempt. The cleric, who has lived in the US since 1999 and was an Erdogan ally until they felt out in recent years, denies the allegations.

Broadcaster NTV and other local media said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jonathan Cohen will lead the US delegation to Turkey to work on the crisis, which peaked after the recent arrest. Turkish officials charges the consulate employee spoke with Gulen followers.

The decision to hold face-to-face talks follows a phone call Wednesday between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the first high-level contact since the crisis erupted on Sunday.

"Secretary Tillerson conveyed to the foreign minister his profound concern over the detentions of Turkish national employees of our diplomatic mission to Turkey and of several American citizens," according to a US statement released Wednesday.

"Secretary 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."

 

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