ANKARA (Sputnik) — Erdogan said on Tuesday that the United States was to blame for causing the visa dispute between the two countries, adding that US Ambassador to Ankara John Bass should be dismissed if he was behind the decision to suspend visa services in Turkey.
On Sunday, the US embassy announced the suspension of non-immigrant visa services at US diplomatic facilities in Turkey over the recent arrest of Metin Topuz, an employee of the US Consulate General in Istanbul. In response to the move, Turkish authorities suspended visa applications from US citizens.
"If our ambassador had done the same thing, we would not keep him on his post for a single minute. We do not regard [Bass] as a representative of the United States. Neither the Foreign Ministry nor our ministers, not I personally, will accept his farewell visits," Erdogan said during his visit to Serbia as aired by the NTV broadcaster.
"If agents of FETO [the Fethullah Terrorist Organization] are working at the diplomatic missions of the United States, it raises questions," Erdogan said.
Topuz was arrested over his alleged links to FETO, which is considered by Ankara to be behind the July 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey. Following Topuz's arrest, the US Embassy in Turkey said that the charges brought against the former consulate employee were baseless and undermined the partnership between Washington and Ankara.