Turkey blames U.S. envoy for souring ties; won't buy United States guns

Turkey blames U.S. envoy for souring ties; won't buy United States guns

Erdogan also rebuffed criticism of Turkey's arrest of the consulate employee, alleging he had ties to US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of masterminding a coup attempt a year ago.

Turkey retaliated by halting visas services in the U.S.

Turkey felt many allies were slow to condemn the coup attempt and failed to appreciate the danger it faced.

The U.S. this week halted most visa services for Turkish citizens after Turkish authorities arrested Metin Topuz, a Turkish employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

Topuz is accused of having links to a group associated with Fethullah Gulen, an exiled religious leader and businessman based in the United States and wanted in Turkey.

The United States says it is still seeking an explanation for the arrest - the second detention of a consulate worker this year.

Erdoğan's comments came a day after Ambassador Bass stated that the decision for visa suspension was taken by the USA government, which also confirmed that the decision was taken in coordination with the State Department, the White House and the National Security Council.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his USA counterpart Rex Tillerson discussed the issue over the phone on Wednesday, marking the first contact between Ankara and Washington since the two sides suspended visa services on Sunday.

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

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"Let me be very clear, the person who caused this is the ambassador here. It is unacceptable for the U.S.to sacrifice a strategic partnership for an impertinent ambassador who doesn't know his place", Erdogan told at a provincial governors' meeting in Ankara.

Ankara accuses Gulen of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt that killed more than 300 people.

Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said earlier on Thursday that Turkey received a proposal from the U.S. to resolve an escalating row between the two countries and Ankara was now evaluating it. Erdogan alleges the third staff member is hiding inside the Istanbul consulate, a claim Bass has denied.

"Turkey is not doing arbitrary arrests".

"On the one hand, you arrest the deputy manager of my bank who has not committed any crime, but on the other hand my citizen [Zarrab] has been in prison in the USA for two years without crime, trying to use him as a confessor".

Referring to a US grand jury indictment of 15 Turkish security officials who clashed with protesters during his visit to Washington in May, Erdogan said a lot of them had never set foot on USA soil.

He said Turkey would abandon its plans to supply USA -made weapons to its police force.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been encouraging an impression that Bass may have acted without approval from Washington, a view that gained traction after several days of silence from the State Department and White House.

"If the ambassador in Ankara is leading the grand United States, then shame on you", Erdogan said. "They should have said, 'You cannot treat my strategic ally this way, you cannot act this way.' But they couldn't say this", he said.

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