The Turkish president has described a decision by the U.S. to suspend all non-immigrant visa services as “regretful” and said Turkey is ruled by laws and is not “a tribal state.”
“This decision, besides all, is regretful,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a joint press conference with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine in Kiev on Monday. Mr. Erdogan avoided criticizing the U.S. administration for the decision and seemed to pin the blame squarely on U.S. Ambassador John Bass. The ambassador has long been under fire by the Turkish government and pro-government media.
On Sunday, the U.S. said in a statement on Sunday that they were suspending all non-immigrant visa services as part of their efforts to minimize the number of visitors to U.S. diplomatic missions in Turkey because the host country was not committed to providing the necessary security.
The announcement was made after Turkish authorities arrested communications officer Metin Topuz at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul on charges of political and military espionage.
“Turkey is a state of law. We are not a tribe. And we are not a tribal state either,” Mr. Erdogan said in his first public remark about the diplomatic fight. He recalled ordering Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday to announce the same text as a reciprocal move.
On Monday, Turkish authorities moved to detain wife and son of Mr. Topuz as well. Charges against them were not immediately announced.