ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will not submit to “impositions” from the United States over an on-going visa crisis and will reject any conditions it cannot meet, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.
A delegation from the United States is visiting Turkey in an attempt to repair diplomatic ties between the NATO allies after both countries stopped issuing visas to each other’s citizens this month.
Washington first suspended visa services at its missions in Turkey, after Turkish authorities detained two Turkish nationals employed as U.S. consular staff. The U.S. delegation has asked Ankara for information and evidence regarding the detained staff, private broadcaster Haberturk reported.
“We will cooperate if their demands meet the rules of our constitution but we will not succumb to impositions and we will reject any conditions that we cannot meet,” Cavusoglu told a news conference, when asked about the report of requests from the U.S. delegation.
A translator at the consulate in the southern province of Adana was arrested in May and a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worker was detained in Istanbul two weeks ago. Both were detained on suspicion of links to last year’s failed coup, allegations the United States has rejected.
Haberturk said the U.S. delegation, which arrived in Turkey this week, laid out four conditions to solve the visa crisis, including that Turkey must provide information about its investigations into the detained workers, and evidence related to DEA worker Metin Topuz.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said last week Topuz had been in contact with a leading suspect in last year’s failed military coup. Turkish media reported similar accusations against the translator in May.
The U.S. delegation told Ankara that if the contacts which Turkish authorities are seeking to investigate were undertaken on the instructions of the consulate, the employees should not have been arrested, Haberturk said.
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