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Tillerson Expresses 'Profound Concern' About Turkey's Detention Of US Employees

12 October 2017

U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson on Wednesday expressed "profound concern" to his Turkish counterpart over the detention of local employees of U.S. diplomatic missions in Turkey, according to the U.S. State Department.

Representative of the United States and Turkey are scheduled to meet "in the coming days" in an attempt to solve a crisis that followed the arrest of a local employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul and the subsequent reciprocal suspension of short-term visas, Turkish Deputy Premier Bekir Bozdag announced on Thursday. Turkey retaliated by halting visas services in the United States.

Referring to Topuz, he added: "The testimony of a USA local staff member, a Turkish citizen, was filed to both the police and the prosecution office in the presence of a lawyer".

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.

"Talks between the foreign minister and (U.S. Secretary of State) Tillerson were very constructive". "If the ambassador acted on his own, then the US administration should not keep him there for a minute".

Bozdag also added that the consulate employee had not demanded lawyer access and that the United States mission was free to apply to send a lawyer to see him.

"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. Bass's move was made in consultation with Trump administration officials in Washington, she said.

He added that Turkey is committed to "safeguarding" USA government employees in Turkey.

"We don't want this dispute to last more than a second", Simsek said of the current visa spat at a briefing on US business opportunities in Turkey at the US Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. "For some reason his side of interactions are suddenly being classified as support for terrorism or membership in a terrorist organization, and I have yet to see a consistent description of which terrorist organization he is supposed to be a member of".

Tillerson Expresses 'Profound Concern' About Turkey's Detention Of US Employees