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Tillerson Calls Turkish Foreign Minister Over Recent Detentions

12 October 2017

The U.S. suspended all non-immigration visa services in its missions in Turkey following the detention of the employee identified as Metin Topuz, who was arrested for espionage charges.

A USA delegation is allegedly expected to travel to Turkey next week, led by Jonathan Cohen, the deputy assistant secretary of the Department of State's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, covering Turkey.

"His testimony at the criminal peace court was also filed with a lawyer present", said Bozdag expressing that it was impossible to think otherwise.

Hours later, Ankara issued a similar suspension on visas for USA citizens.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters Tuesday that the US has seen no evidence that the consular employees were supporters of Gulen.

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Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu discussed the visa crisis between Turkey and the USA with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson on the phone.

"The information that a second person is there shows something is going on at the consulate in Istanbul", Erdogan said, adding that the USA should evaluate how such "agents" infiltrated the mission or who placed them there.

Turkey's ties with the US have frayed since the failed coup against Erdogan in July 2016.

Turkish authorities, commenting on the arrest of the Consulate General's employee, noted that he had links with the movement of Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of being involved in the 2016 military coup attempt in Turkey.

Bozdag said Turkish and US diplomats would meet in the next few days. Bass's move was made in consultation with Trump administration officials in Washington, she said. The phone call is the highest level of contact since the suspension of visa services by both countries.

Tillerson Calls Turkish Foreign Minister Over Recent Detentions