Thursday, 22 August 2019 10:59 GMT

Turkish-US relations turn sour

(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) By Redha Sardar

ANKARA, Oct 13 (KUNA) -- Turkish-US relations have become shrouded with strains due to a host of issues such as the two countries' tit-for-tat visas' suspension and Ankara's dismay with Washington support for secession-aspiring Kurds.
Another main thorn poisoning relations between the traditional and strategic allies is the question of Fethullah Gulen, an influential opposition leader who lives in exile in the U.S. Ankara is seeking his extradition on charges of complicity in the latest major coup de 'tat to oust the government.
The strained relations turned more sour when the U.S. Embassy in Turkey, on Sunday, declared suspending visas, prompting the Turks to take a similar measure.
Washington's decision came in retaliation for Ankara's detention of a staff from the American consulate in Istanbul on October fourth on espionage charges and affiliations with Gulen's organization.
Turkish Public Prosecution has also summoned other personnel from the same consulate for interrogations, based on confessions made by the first detainee.
US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass on Wednesday said there were "no suspects" among the American mission personnel.
Heather Nauert, US State Department Spokesperson, said the decision to suspend granting visas had been taken in coordination between the Department and the White House.
For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the US Ambassador to Turkey for the relations' deterioration.
Moreover, he has been vocal against Washington's support for the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria and other Kurdish factions advocating secession.
His prime minister, Binali Yildirim, expressed hope that normal relations between the two nations would be restored very soon.
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, currently on an official visit to Washington, has affirmed that the two nations have been allies since a long time ago, expressing his belief that such "a crisis will not undermine this partnership." At the economic level, Turkish officials have expressed hope the crisis would be resolved soon, noting negative impact on the Turkish economy.
The crisis in the Turkish-US relations has cast its shadows over the local economy, where the Turkish lira dropped to US dollar to 3.61 and 4.49 to the euro.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has affirmed that the current tensions would not undermine the close military cooperation between Washington and Ankara. (end) rs.rk

Turkish-US relations turn sour


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