Turkey hopes US ties will ‘normalize soon’

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said Ankara is looking forward to a normalization of U.S.-Turkey relations, amid a diplomatic crisis escalated after the two countries imposed visa restrictions on each other’s citizens.

“Our wish is that relations between the two allies get back to normal soon. We, as Turkey, will not give up on common sense at a time when regional and global tensions have been rising,” Yıldırım said, addressing governors on Oct. 11 in Ankara.

Relations between Ankara and Washington strained after Turkey arrested a U.S. consulate official. The U.S. announced late on Oct. 8 it was halting the processing of all non-immigrant visas in Turkey. In return, Ankara imposed tit-for-tat measures and suspended the processing of visas in its embassy and consulate in the U.S.

The diplomatic spat worsened after another U.S. consulate official was summoned for questioning as a suspect in an unidentified case late on Oct. 9.

“As you may know the U.S. has announced a suspension of visa services on grounds of security weakness at its diplomatic missions. Of course, we had done what is due for Turkey and responded doing the same based on reciprocity principle,” Yıldırım said.

The prime minister’s remarks came one day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the U.S. of triggering the crisis.

“The offender in this problem is the U.S. itself,” Erdoğan said on Oct. 10 at a press conference during his official visit to Serbia.

“I personally find it odd that high-level U.S. officials did not conduct any means of communication with our foreign minister on the issue,” he said.

If the outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, John Bass, acted on his own in suspending visa services in Turkey, Washington should recall him from the country, Erdoğan said, adding that Ankara “does not consider Bass to be Washington’s legitimate representative in Turkey.”

Yıldırım had also criticized the decision on Oct. 10, saying that it “does not comply with the alliance” and Washington should use “common sense.”

The suspension of visa services in Turkey “punishes ordinary citizens” and the problem must be resolved immediately “through dialogue,” he said at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) group meeting at parliament.

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