Turkey receives United States request to solve visa crisis: spokesman

Tillerson discusses visa crisis with Turkish foreign minister

English edition of Asharq Al-Awsat - the world's premier pan-Arab daily.

Turkish and United States authorities made a decision to meet to settle the strategic emergency between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Thursday.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has expressed "profound concern" over the detention of U.S. diplomatic staff in Turkey, the State Department said on October 11.

Speaking to reporters at his residence in Ankara, Ambassador John Bass said the decision to freeze visa services from US missions in Turkey stems from a conclusion that two Turkish citizens who worked for the embassy were detained for their work on behalf of the American government.

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 announced a suspension of all non-immigrant visa applications for each other's citizens on Sunday.

"I personally find it odd that high-level US officials did not conduct any means of communication with our foreign minister". He also emphasized the importance of transparency and the need for the evidence behind the accusations to be known, Nauert said.

The U.S. suspended most visa services for Turkish citizens after Turkish authorities arrested a Turkish employee at the American consulate in Istanbul on charges of espionage and alleged ties to U.S. -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed for last year's failed coup.

"We maintain a very close collaboration, very close communication, the military-to-military interaction and integration has not been affected by this", Mattis told reporters as he traveled to a military headquarters in Florida.

On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman said the spat had not affected North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or United States military ties with Turkey.

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